Murray State Theses and Dissertations

Abstract

The tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) has declined severely across its range since 2006 due to white nose syndrome, a fungal disease causing massive bat mortality in North America. My objective was to determine distinguishing characteristics of roost trees and habitat used by tri-colored bats so that the species’ needs can be considered in management plans. I mist-netted for tri-colored bats in western Kentucky and Tennessee during the summers of 2015 and 2016, and attached a radio transmitter to each captured adult bat. I tracked 15 bats to their day roosts and collected habitat data at 38 roost areas and at 74 randomly selected trees in the area of the capture radius of each bat for comparison. Tri-colored bats used roost trees within a relatively small area. The average distance between roosts was 86 m and bats roosted within 2.5 km of their original capture site. All roosting bats were located in the foliage of live trees. Tri-colored bats’ roost tree selection was nonrandom. Bats were observed roosting in nine different species of tree, with the most commonly selected species being Carya tomentosa and Quercus alba (46% and 23% of roost trees, respectively). The most abundant species among the randomly selected trees was Q. alba, which was selected roughly in proportion to its abundance, and Acer saccharum, which was never selected as a roost tree species. A generalized linear model on all variables measured showed that increasing tree crown depth, distance from roads, and basal area of trees were correlated with roost tree selection. Management needs of tri-colored bats differ from those of several other declining bat species which prefer trees in mid-decay stages. Tri-colored bats in my study typically used mature live deciduous trees that were further than average from roads, had a greater than average crown depth, and were in a location with higher than average basal area of trees. It is likely necessary to conserve large parcels of heterogeneous forest, with high numbers of mature trees to adequately protect habitat for remnant populations of tri-colored bat that persist on the landscape.

Year manuscript completed

2017

Year degree awarded

2017

Author's Keywords

bat, Perimyotis, roost, tri-colored, white-nose syndrome, habitat

Degree Awarded

Master of Science

Department

Biology

College/School

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Thesis Advisor

Terry L. Derting

Committee Member

Howard H. Whiteman

Committee Member

Christopher J. Mecklin

Committee Member

Mike P. Armstrong

Committee Member

Kate S. He

Document Type

Thesis

Available for download on Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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