Bat Activity in Relation to Landscape Composition and Spatial Configuration in Wisconsin
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With the devastating effects of White-Nose Syndrome rapidly spreading towards Wisconsin, identifying the abundance and distribution of bats within the state is becoming increasingly vital. In order to identify patterns of activity and distribution two major questions were addressed through the study: the general distance bats tend to travel from hibernacula locations to summer roosting locations, and the type of land cover that has the highest associated percentage of bat activity. Three major data sets were analyzed and compared primarily through the means of geographical information system software. The data consisted of recorded bat activity from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from the year 2008, four major hibernacula locations, and 30x30 meter land cover classification data from the National Land Cover Database from 2001. The data was analyzed spatially and statistically through spatial joins, multiple ring buffers, and a nonparametric test. The results suggest that there are greater amounts of bat activity at farther distances from the hibernacula site, and that there are highest percentages of bat activity in association with open water and developed open space land cover types. These results form the basis of a general bat census that with additional research can form the foundation for more effective and efficient bat management and potential recovery plans.
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