Master's Theses

Date of Award

Winter 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. Elmer Finck

Abstract

Caves are often essential during hibernation, a sensitive stage in the life cycle of bats. Caves offer more stable conditions, such as temperature and relative humidity, during the changing seasons when food supply is limited, and weather is unstable. As caves in North-Central Kansas are sparse, the hibernating status of tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) is not well known. Bats are experiencing substantial population declines within the United States, caused primarily by white nose-syndrome, as well as habitat loss and degradation, and increased wind-power facilities. In the winter seasons of 2015 and 2016, I studied tri-colored bat hibernacula. A man-made “cave” in Russell County, Kansas was the focal study area of my research. The tri-colored bat was the most common species found within the mixed-species hibernaculum. I described the cave by establishing microhabitat and macrohabitat parameters, which included at roost sites and overall characteristics within the cave. I placed Hygrochron iButtons at individual roost sites to automatically record environmental data. The hibernating tri-colored bat was more often located in areas that were closer to the ceiling than the ground and that were farther from the entrance. The cave provided unlimited access to water, subsequently this variable was not significant in roost site preference. At individual locations, the tri-colored bat was almost always roosting at sites that had constant temperatures and fluctuating relative humidity. Continuing to study bat caves and roost site preference increases the understanding of bat natural history. Understanding bat behavior and how they are responding to environmental changes can be beneficial in determining potential protected habitat and to ensure the populations continued survival.

Rights

Copyright 2018 Angelica Sprague

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).


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