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Diversity 2018, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020029

Restoration of Legacy Trees as Roosting Habitat for Myotis Bats in Eastern North American Forests

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0073, USA
Received: 8 March 2018 / Revised: 17 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diversity and Conservation of Bats)
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Abstract

Most eastern North American Myotis roost in forests during summer, with species forming maternity populations, or colonies, in cavities or crevices or beneath the bark of trees. In winter, these bats hibernate in caves and are experiencing overwinter mortalities due to infection from the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which causes white-nose syndrome (WNS). Population recovery of WNS-affected species is constrained by the ability of survivors to locate habitats suitable for rearing pups in summer. Forests in eastern North America have been severely altered by deforestation, land-use change, fragmentation and inadvertent introduction of exotic insect pests, resulting in shifts in tree distributions and loss of large-diameter canopy-dominant trees. This paper explores patterns in use of tree roosts by species of Myotis across Canada and the United States using meta-data from published sources. Myotis in western Canada, the Northwest, and Southwest selected the largest diameter roost trees and also supported the largest maximum exit counts. Myotis lucifugus, M. septentrionalis and M. sodalis, three species that inhabit eastern forests and which are currently experiencing region-wide mortalities because of WNS, selected roosts with the smallest average diameters. Recovery efforts for bark- and cavity-roosting Myotis in eastern North American forests could benefit from management that provides for large-diameter trees that offer more temporally-stable structures for roosting during the summer maternity season. View Full-Text
Keywords: bark and cavity-roosting bats; leave trees; legacy structures; maternity colony; Myotis; roost longevity; roost switching; white-nose syndrome bark and cavity-roosting bats; leave trees; legacy structures; maternity colony; Myotis; roost longevity; roost switching; white-nose syndrome
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Lacki, M.J. Restoration of Legacy Trees as Roosting Habitat for Myotis Bats in Eastern North American Forests. Diversity 2018, 10, 29.

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