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Wednesday, April 11 • 2:30pm - 2:45pm
PROCESSES IN AGRICULTURAL LANDSCAPES: Examining Bat Activity, Diversity, and Distribution in an Agricultural Mosaic Landscape

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AUTHORS: Tyler N. Turner,* Karen Root – Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT: Bats play an important role in the ecosystems they inhabit as pollinators, nutrient cyclers, and integral parts of food webs. Insectivorous bats are major sources of pest control and have great financial value to agriculture. Unfortunately, bats face numerous threats worldwide and habitat loss and degradation are the leading causes for species declines. Agricultural expansion is part of this loss and has increased rapidly over the last 35 years. It is imperative to know how bats are using human dominated landscapes to better manage these species. This study looked at three different landscape types and the features within them to see how they affected bat activity, diversity, and distribution. A 105 square kilometer study site was chosen in the Oak Openings Region of northwest Ohio, a biodiversity hotspot within a human modified landscape. This site included natural, agricultural and mosaic (mixed use with residential, small farms, and forest patches) habitat configurations. This study examined foraging activity of the region's eight native bat species using acoustic monitors to record feeding calls. We recorded 650 calls and all eight species utilizing mobile driving transects from May through September over the course of 35 nights (165 total transects driven). Individuals were mapped with ArcGIS using GPS coordinates associated with each call file. Both environmental (e.g. wind speed, temperature humidity) and habitat (e.g. distance to water, canopy cover, vegetation height) variables were measured. While bat activity was significantly lower in agricultural landscapes (p=0.04, Pearsons Test), we found there was only a slight decrease in activity between natural to mosaic landscapes. Furthermore, species diversity was greater (8 total species, Simpson's Diversity=0.615) in mosaic landscapes than in natural (6 species, Simpson's=0.588) or agricultural areas (5 species, Simpson's=0.415). This suggests that bats likely benefit from the heterogeneity of these mosaic landscapes.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 2:30pm - 2:45pm CDT
Adams Room

Attendees (7)