Date of Graduation
The general objective of this dissertation was to determine the effect of changes in forest structure on bat activity patterns in southern pine stands. Individual studies included an investigation of the homerange, habitat use, and diet of a species of special concern common to the Southern Pine Region (SPR), Rafinesque's big-eared bat, a investigation of the relative activity of bats below, within, and above forest canopies in 5 vegetational communities, and a review of the distribution and habitat associations of the bats of the SPR. In my first study, I examined homerange size, habitat use, and diet of four reproductively active male Rafinesque's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii). Bigeared bats had biphasic activity patterns, with most foraging activity occurring during the first 4 hours after sunset and 2 hours before sunrise. The homerange sizes were small relative to other Vespertilionid bats in the southeastern United States. Mean homerange sizes calculated using the 95% utilization distribution adaptive kernel method and 100% contours calculated using the minimum convex polygon method were 93.1 and 70.7 ha, respectively. Although large contiguous tracts of mature bottomland hardwoods were common in the study area, most foraging activity occurred in pine stands. Only 9% of foraging areas were composed of bottomland hardwoods. In my second study, I examined the diet of 5 reproductively active male Rafinesque's big-eared bats. Diets of these individuals in upland pine stands were similar to diets of Rafinesque's big-eared bats in bottomland and upland hardwood habitats. Although fecal samples contained three insect orders: Diptera (flies), Homoptera (aphids and cicadas), and lepidopterans (moths), the diet consisted primarily of lepidopterans (99.4% Â± 0.4). In my third study, I compared bat activity levels in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina among 5 vegetational community types: forested riparian areas, clearcuts, young pine plantations, mature pine plantations, and pine savannahs. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).
Menzel, Michael A., "An examination of factors influencing the spatial distribution of foraging bats in pine stands in the southeastern United States." (2003). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9412.