Presence and absence of bats across habitat scales in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Page: 2 of 10
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the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) serving as regulatory drivers
to encourage monitoring, collection of ecological data
necessary for the management and conservation of day-
roost resources, and foraging habitats for the region's bat
assemblage has been relatively limited. To date, bat research
in the SPR has been restricted to a small portion of South
Carolina (Menzel et al. 2003, Carter et al. 2004, Menzel et
al. 2005a,b), Mississippi (Elmore et al. 2005), and Georgia
(Krishon et al. 1997, Menzel et al. 1998).
Understanding how current land use patterns and future
land use changes will impact bat communities in the SPR
requires development of species-specific, quantitative hab-
itat models over all relevant spatial and temporal scales.
Remarkably insightful assessments of bat distribution
patterns across a range of habitat scales (Johnson 2003,
Ford et al. 2005) without requiring the restrictive assump-
tions required for measures of abundance (Hayes 2000) have
been provided by sampling with Anabat zero-crossing
period meter acoustical equipment used in a short-duration
"active-search mode" to collect species-specific presence-
absence data in the central and southern Appalachian
Mountains. We examined acoustically collected presence-
absence data on bats at 430 sample locations over a 780 km2
area in the SPR to relate bat presence or absence to various
environmental parameters at the SRS, South Carolina,
using an information-theoretic modeling approach. Based
on previous research at Savannah River Site (SRS; Menzel
et al. 2003, 2005a,b), we predicted that the presence of all or
most bat species on site would be related to proximity or
abundance of riparian and wetland habitats at both the stand
and landscape-level scales, rather than to composition and
heterogeneity of terrestrial landscapes consistent with
foraging habitat niches at SRS described by Menzel et al.
(2003). Conversely, we predicted that in an arthropod-rich,
subtropical/warm-temperate forest setting, links between
presence of bats and insect abundance and weather during
the summer growing season would be weak or equivocal.
We conducted our study on the 80,267-ha SRS, a United
States Department of Energy nuclear weapons production
and maintenance facility and National Environmental
Research Park located in Aiken, Allendale, and Barnwell
counties, in the upper Coastal Plain physiographic province
of west-central South Carolina (33 0'25" N, 81 25'50" W).
The SRS had a humid subtropical/warm-temperate climate
with an average summer and winter temperature of 27 C
and 9 C, respectively, and average annual rainfall of 120 cm
(Workman and McLeod 1990).
Upland pine forests consisted largely of loblolly pine
(Pinus taeda), longleaf pine (P. palustris), or slash pine (P.
elliotii) plantations that ranged from newly planted to older
sawtimber-sized stands (>60 yr) dominated the SRS
(62%). Following harvest, many stands of loblolly and slash
pine were converted to longleaf pine, and many current mid-
aged loblolly and longleaf pine stands are thinned and
maintained as savannas to restore overstory conditions to
promote and enhance conditions for the endangered red-
cockaded woodpeckers (Picolides borealis) and other plant
and animals dependent upon that presettlement condition
(Barton et al. 2005). Other forest types at the SRS included
southern bottomland hardwoods and bald cypress (Taxo-
dium distichum)-water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) swamps
(14.8%), upland hardwoods (3.4%), and mixed pine-
hardwood communities (5.2%; Menzel et al. 2003, Imm
and McLeod 2005). Aquatic habitats such as man-made
reservoirs and ponds, Carolina bays, both forested and
emergent, blackwater streams, and large river habitats were
also common on the site (Workman and McLeod 1990).
Scattered throughout the SRS, there were also permanent
grassy or brushy conditions that consisted of roads, railroads,
utility rights-of-way, and open areas around production
We used Anabat II detectors (Titley Electronics, Ltd.,
Ballina, New South Wales, Australia) linked to laptop
computers using Anabat 6.3e software to determine
presence of foraging bats at 430 survey locations on the
SRS from late May through July 2001. Our survey points
were located throughout the SRS. Approximately half (n =
217) of the points were centered at Forest Inventory and
Analysis (FIA) plots, which were systematically located
across the SRS on a 1,000- by 1,000-m grid. To propor-
tionally incorporate most of the habitats available on the
area, we supplemented these FIA locations with 213
additional points both selectively (i.e., bridge crossings,
Carolina bays, and lakes throughout) and randomly placed
in community types under-represented in the FIA database
(e.g., the bottomland hardwood stands along the Savannah
River and the lower stream reaches on the SRS). In their
entirety, bat survey points represented almost the complete
range and variability of habitat conditions present at SRS.
At each survey point, we actively monitored for bat presence
for 20-minute periods by slowly sweeping the Anabat
detector back and forth to scan for activity (Johnson et al.
2002, Ford et al. 2005). Sampling occurred from shortly
after dusk to about 0100-0200 hours in the early morning.
We avoided sampling during evenings with low activity
caused by high winds or moderate to heavy precipitation
(Ford et al. 2005). We filtered recorded echolocation passes
(Miller 2001) prior to analysis (Britzke and Murray 2000)
and then identified species using Analook 4.7j and Analyze
2.0 software. To identify bats to species, we relied on a
combination of qualitative and quantitative factors such as
minimum and mean call note frequency, call note curvature,
and call note slope developed from an echolocation call
library representing all the species that could occur at the
SRS (Menzel 1998, Menzel et al. 2005a). We were not able
to discriminate between echolocation passes of the eastern
red bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the Seminole bat (L.
seminolus), so we grouped these species in our acoustical
identifications and subsequent analysis.
For all points, we accessed the Field Sampled Vegetation
Ford et al. * Bat Presence in the Upper Coastal Plain 1201
Ford et al. - Bat Presence in the Upper Coastal Plain
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Ford, W.Mark; Menzel, Jennifer M.; Menzel, Michael A.: Edwards, John W. & Kilgo, John C. Presence and absence of bats across habitat scales in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina., article, October 1, 2006; New Ellenton, South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc891177/m1/2/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.