Relationship between urbanization and bat community structure in national parks of the southeastern U.S.

  • Authors: Loeb, Susan C.; Post, Christopher J.; Hall, Steven T.
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
  • Source: Urban Ecosyst, Vol. 12: 197-214

Abstract

Urbanization and development are predicted to increase considerably in the United States over the next several decades, and this is expected to result in large-scale habitat loss, fragmentation and loss of wildlife species. Thus, natural parks and preserves are becomingly increasingly important in the conservation of regional biodiversity. We used mist-nets and AnabatII acoustic detectors to survey bats in 10 national parks in the southeastern U.S. and examined the relationship between bat community structure and development in the surrounding 5 km. We predicted that species richness would increase with park size and that species richness and evenness would decrease with development. Species richness was not related to development or any other landscape characteristics including park size. In contrast, species evenness declined with increasing development. Percent Developed land in the surrounding 5 km area was the only variable that entered into the stepwise regression model. The decrease in species evenness in the urban parks was due to the dominance of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) in these parks. The percentage of big brown bats in our captures was positively related to percent Developed land in the surrounding area. Our data suggest that urban parks may be important for conserving regional bat biodiversity. However, the low species evenness in these parks suggests that some bat species may be susceptible to the effects of urbanization and may be extirpated over time. Thus, management of urban as well as rural parks should strive to conserve as much bat roosting and foraging habitat as possible.

  • Citation: Loeb, Susan C.; Post, Christopher J.; Hall, Steven T. 2009. Relationship between urbanization and bat community structure in national parks of the southeastern U.S. Urban Ecosyst, Vol. 12: 197-214
  • Keywords: bats, chiroptera, conservation, urban development, species richness, species diversity
  • Posted Date: May 4, 2009
  • Modified Date: August 11, 2020
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.