Date of Award

5-30-2017

Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Thesis Advisor

Kerry L. Yurewicz

Committee Member

Leonard Reitsma

Committee Member

Leighlan Prout

Abstract

In May 2015, the northern long-eared bat, Myotis septentrionalis, became the first bat species to be listed as Threatened via the Endangered Species Act due to the wildlife disease known as White Nose Syndrome. The species, which had been in decline for a number of years, then became an elevated concern for every wildlife manager in the Eastern United States and was of particular concern to the timber industry. The goal of my research project was to better understand this species’ distribution in the White Mountain National Forest by statistically testing for associations between detections of the northern long-eared bat and habitat variables. Three years of presence/absence echolocation surveys starting in 2014 and ending in 2016 were conducted in Northern New Hampshire and Western Maine, with northern long-eared bats detected in 27 out of 333 survey sites. Stand-level habitat characteristics were examined using logistic regression to determine which characteristics could be used as predictors for northern long-eared bat presence on the landscape. The average diameter at breast height of a forest stand and the number of hectares of wetlands within 2 km appear to be landscape-level characteristics that influence the presence of northern long-eared bats on the landscape. Prey abundance was also assessed as a way to explain why the northern long-eared bat was being found near wetlands, but no significant patterns were found. The results from this study suggest careful management of timber stands within 2 km of wetlands.

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