Volker Bahn (Advisor), Tom Rooney (Committee Member), Megan Rua (Committee Member)
Master of Science (MS)
The goal of my thesis is to: 1) provide baseline information of where Ohio bats are foraging in Wright State University's (WSU) campus woods in relation to forest age and habitat (Chapter 1), 2) determine potential roost availability for local bats (Chapter 1), and 3) examine changes in state-wide species composition following the introduction of White-nose Syndrome (WNS; Chapter 2). In Chapter 1, I created walking bat acoustic routes and used generalized linear models to determine what forest ages and habitats had the greatest bat activity in the WSU campus woods. I conducted habitat transects throughout all forest ages to estimate and contrast their available bat roost tree densities. My results supported species-specific trends in foraging habitat selection, and could further be explained by bat flight morphology. Selection of edge habitats in primary and secondary forests was consistent among species, while variation was large among interior and riparian habitats. Further, larger bodied species preferred edge habitats for foraging while midsized and small bodied species had intraspecific variation in foraging habitat selection. Primary forests and secondary 65 year forests had the greatest availability of potential foliage roost densities compared to degraded primary and secondary 85 year forests. Additionally, secondary 65 year forest had the greatest availability of potential cavity roost densities compared to all other ages. Taken together, the WSU campus woods has habitats that sustain bat foraging and likely summer roosting. In Chapter 2, I used mobile bat acoustic data from Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) to model trends in species composition over time following WNS. I created linear mixed effects models with summary acoustic detection data. To determine impacts on relative bat abundance, I created 61 formulas with varying fixed effects including species, species wintering behavior, species summer roosting behavior, year, and ODOW wildlife district. I used mobile acoustic routes as a random effect for each model. Best fit model predictions indicated relative species abundances of cave-dwelling cavity roosting bats decreasing, and migratory cavity roosting bats were increasing between 2011-2017. All foliage roosting species abundances were declining or unchanging. My results suggest a summer cavity roosting bat species turnover from more susceptible and/or affected species by WNS to migratory bats with the same summer roosting behavior. My results likely reflect a change in species composition across other WNS endemic areas, and inform state and federal future management strategies.
Department or Program
Department of Biological Sciences
Year Degree Awarded
Copyright 2018, all rights reserved. My ETD will be available under the "Fair Use" terms of copyright law.