Date of Award

Summer 7-27-2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MSIB)

Department

Biology

Major Professor

Thomas McElroy

First Committee Member

Paula Jackson

Second Committee Member

Clint Penick

Third Committee Member

Tsai-Tien Tseng

Abstract

Bats make up 20% of all mammalian species, are globally distributed, and are the only mammals capable of sustained flight. Bats have adapted to feed on insects, scorpions, aquatic arthropods, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, blood, carrion, fruit, flowers, nectar, pollen, and even seeds and foliage. However, the feeding ecology of these organisms is not well understood. Most bat species in North America rely on the same method of foraging and locomotion. The geographical range and habitats of these bats also commonly overlap. Bat feeding ecology studies have used fecal analysis to identify consumed prey species. Factors such as time of night, season, bat community composition, competition, habitat structure/type, and available prey likely determine feeding behaviors for bat species. This study quantified and integrated the external factors mentioned above with prey items consumed by several common species of bats in the Southeastern United States. The data collected shows a significant relationship between temperature, arthropod communities, and bat activity. This study provides data to address questions about resource use among local southeastern bat species. These data can inform bat conservation efforts and landscape management.

Available for download on Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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