Intra-specific effects of forest loss on the distribution of the forest-dependent northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
- LE Henderson, LJ Farrow, HG. Broders
- Biological Conservation
Populations of the Northern Long-Eared Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) have declined dramatically in recent years in eastern North America due to white-nose syndrome. Although M. septentrionalis was once common in parts of eastern North America, few studies have examined habitat selection of this species in an agricultural landscape. We used acoustical methods to quantify bat activity and construct a habitat model of M. septentrionalis in an intensively farmed area in the Midwestern United States, where mortality from white-nose syndrome has not yet been observed. Our study confirms that M. septentrionalis prefers forest and avoids open habitats in this agricultural region. The best landscape variable for predicting activity in woodland sites was the proportion of forest coverage within a radius of 2000 meters. Our analysis indicates that bat activity increased exponentially as forest coverage increased. There is no evidence that M. septentrionalis preferred open areas at the edge of forest (within 5 m of forest edge), or that once in the woods, the distance to the forest edge had any impact on activity.