Title

Use of BrandenBark by Bats in Western Kentucky: Occupancy and Habitat Characteristics

Presenter Information

Russell MilamFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Biology

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Terry Derting

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Maintenance of habitat with suitable roost trees is a key component of conservation efforts for the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). BrandenBarkTM, an artificial bark designed specifically for long-term habitat improvement for bark-roosting bats such as the Indiana bat, is being installed as a mitigation/habitat enhancement tool in several states. We monitored 18 roost poles on which BrandenbarkTM was installed for occupancy by bats at three sites in western KY where Indiana bats were known or likely to occur, in the summers of 2017 and 2018. We examined the relationship between roost occupancy and macro- and microclimate variables. Sites were visited weekly and ambient conditions, presence of guano in a guano trap at the base of each pole, audible bat calls, and canopy cover were documented. Roost temperature was recorded every 30 min using iButtons that were placed between the roost pole and the surrounding BrandenBark. At Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge (CRNWR) and Audubon State Park (ASP), none of the roost poles were occupied by bats in 2017. In 2018, 3 of 9 poles (33%) were occupied for 8 days at CRNWR and 3 of 5 poles (60%) were occupied for 1-4 days at ASP. At the Trigg Co. site, 2 of 4 poles were occupied in 2017 (42-78 days in late May or June – early September) and 2018 (117-123 days in early April – late August). There was no significant difference between ambient and roost temperature at any site. There was also no significant difference in canopy cover and distance to forest between occupied and unoccupied roost poles. Our results indicated that use of BrandenBark roost poles takes time, with use tending to increase in the second summer after the poles are installed. We did not find any obvious habitat correlates that indicated use of specific roost poles but our sample size was small.

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Sigma Xi Poster Competition (Juried)

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Use of BrandenBark by Bats in Western Kentucky: Occupancy and Habitat Characteristics

Maintenance of habitat with suitable roost trees is a key component of conservation efforts for the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). BrandenBarkTM, an artificial bark designed specifically for long-term habitat improvement for bark-roosting bats such as the Indiana bat, is being installed as a mitigation/habitat enhancement tool in several states. We monitored 18 roost poles on which BrandenbarkTM was installed for occupancy by bats at three sites in western KY where Indiana bats were known or likely to occur, in the summers of 2017 and 2018. We examined the relationship between roost occupancy and macro- and microclimate variables. Sites were visited weekly and ambient conditions, presence of guano in a guano trap at the base of each pole, audible bat calls, and canopy cover were documented. Roost temperature was recorded every 30 min using iButtons that were placed between the roost pole and the surrounding BrandenBark. At Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge (CRNWR) and Audubon State Park (ASP), none of the roost poles were occupied by bats in 2017. In 2018, 3 of 9 poles (33%) were occupied for 8 days at CRNWR and 3 of 5 poles (60%) were occupied for 1-4 days at ASP. At the Trigg Co. site, 2 of 4 poles were occupied in 2017 (42-78 days in late May or June – early September) and 2018 (117-123 days in early April – late August). There was no significant difference between ambient and roost temperature at any site. There was also no significant difference in canopy cover and distance to forest between occupied and unoccupied roost poles. Our results indicated that use of BrandenBark roost poles takes time, with use tending to increase in the second summer after the poles are installed. We did not find any obvious habitat correlates that indicated use of specific roost poles but our sample size was small.