Relating bat species presence to simple habitat measures in a central Appalachian forest

W. Mark Ford, Michael A. Menzel, Jane L. Rodrigue, Jennifer M. Menzel, Joshua B. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


We actively sampled the bat community at 63 sites using detection and non-detection metrics on the Fernow Experimental Forest (FEF) in the central Appalachians of West Virginia using Anabat acoustical equipment May-June 2001-2003 to relate species presence to simple habitat measures such as proximity to riparian areas, forest canopy cover, forest canopy gap width, and forest canopy height. We acoustically detected eight species on the FEF, including the endangered Myotis sodalis. The presence of Lasiurus cinereus, M. lucifugus, M. sodalis, and Pipistrellus subflavus was associated more with riparian areas than upland areas. Both univariate comparisons and multiple logistic regression modeling showed that the probability that clutter-adapted foraging species such as M. septentrionalis and M. sodalis would be detected was greater as forest canopy cover increased or forest canopy gap size decreased, whereas the opposite was true for open-adapted foraging species such as Eptesicus fuscus and L. cinereus. The overall proportion of unidentifiable bat echolocation sequences to those identified to species was related to upland sites with increasing forest canopy cover indicating some sampling bias between cluttered and uncluttered habitats. However, given sufficient sample points, bat community surveys using acoustical detection show the ability to quickly develop generalized habitat associations for rugged areas such as the central Appalachians where traditional mist-net survey efforts often are logistically difficult and are lacking in scope. Moreover, these acoustical surveys also could lend themselves to species-specific predictive mapping of foraging habitat as well as allowing researchers to formulate testable hypotheses about detailed bat habitat relationships to be definitively tested with radio-telemetry techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-539
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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