Bat foraging patterns across habitat scales in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina.
Ford, Mark*,1, Menzel, Alex2, Menzel, Jennifer1, Kilgo, John3, Edwards, John 4, 1 USDA Forest Service, Parsons, WV, USA2 Alston and Bird LLP, Atlanta, GA, USA3 USDA Forest Service, Aiken, SC, USA4 West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
ABSTRACT- During the summer of 2001, we used active acoustical sampling techniques to survey bat foraging habitat relationships at multiple scales on the 78,000 ha Savannah River Site in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Using an a priori information-theoretic approach, we conducted logistic regression analysis to examine individual bat species presence as measured by echolocation search-phase passes of Pipistrellus subflavus, Myotis austroriparius, Nyticeius humeralis, Lasiurus spp., and Eptesicus fuscus relative to micro-habitat features (forest stand structure and proximity to riparian and wetland habitats, macro-habitat features (forest type and landscape-level habitat heterogeneity), weather, and abundance of arthropod prey resources. There was considerable empirical support to suggest that the majority of bat activity across species at the Savannah River Site occurs at a smaller, stand-level habitat scale that combines measures of habitat clutter, close proximity to riparian zones and prey abundance. Accordingly, we believe that foraging habitat relationships are more local than landscape across this relatively large area for the generalist bat that are extant at the Savannah River Site. Myotis austroriparius was the partial exception, as our supported models indicated that its presence was linked to the proximity of Carolina bays or location within bottomland hardwood communities rather than upland pine communities.
Key words: bats, Savannah River Site, stand structure
All materials copyright The Ecological Society of America (ESA), and may not be used without written permission.