Date of Award

December 2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Glen G. Fredlund

Committee Members

Gretchen A. Meyer, Zengwang Xu

Keywords

Agriculture, Bat Activity, Hoary Bat, Landscape Ecology, Myotis, Wisconsin

Abstract

Nearly half of the world's bat species are threatened by anthropogenic land use. To contribute to the conservation of these cryptic mammals, it is imperative to understand bat habitat selection in human-dominated landscapes. Bat activity was calculated using active acoustic surveys conducted June and July for three years along river and lake transects in an agricultural matrix. Using multiple logistic regression and ANOVA regression tree analyses, I examined the relationship between bat activity of four species and habitat structure at multiple scales.

Aquatic features were determined to be the greatest predictor of bat activity with rivers supporting greater amount of bat activity than lake habitats. All analyzed species were shown to be negatively influenced by developed and agricultural land at riparian habitats, however similar patterns were not observed at lake habitats. Wooded land use was also important in describing habitats that supported higher bat activity when assessing general patterns across all surveyed sites. The observed patters are likely due to protection from wind and predators at riparian sites, and roosting habitat that forested lands provide. Sustaining a mixed-use landscape within an agricultural matrix may provide bats the diversity of habitat required to meet all life history needs.