Date of Award

Summer 6-30-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)

Department

Biology

Major Professor

Thomas McElroy

First Committee Member

William Ensign

Second Committee Member

Troy Mutchler

Abstract

Restoration of native flora or reintroduction of at-risk fauna includes management practices that while encouraging presence and proliferation of target species, may adversely affect non-focal species. An endemic ecosystem undergoing restoration within the southeastern U.S. is that of the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). Bats inhabit key ecological niches in forest ecosystems, including the longleaf pine ecosystem, and can be indicators of ecosystem condition. This study investigated the effects of current forest management practices and landscape management history on bat species presence and activity levels within habitat undergoing longleaf pine restoration. We deployed bat detectors in two wildlife management areas within the Raccoon Creek Watershed of northwest Georgia, USA. These areas differed in landscape management history and intensity of longleaf pine restoration practices. Results indicated a significant difference in species activity between landscape management histories but no significant differences were detected in activity or species presence with respect to contemporary restoration practices. The species most active on the landscape were the big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) and eastern red bat (Lasiurus borealis). The data collected in this study will serve as a baseline for bat activity in the region and for evaluating the impacts of the restoration methods on the local bat community.

Available for download on Thursday, July 26, 2018

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