Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Preferred Name

Matthew T. Harris

Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Biology

Advisor(s)

Dr. Heather Griscom

Dr. Patrice Ludwig

Abstract

Riparian buffers planted within agricultural matrices for wildlife conservation are expected to support numerous taxa, but a lack of empirical testing has limited evaluation of these practices. It is imperative that biologists and land managers understand how current conservation practices impact bats so that the ecosystem services provided by bats are maintained as farming practices continue to intensify in regions dominated by agriculture. This study evaluates the effects of planted riparian buffers along streams in an agricultural matrix by comparing acoustic bat activity along streams in active cattle pasture with activity at streams where riparian buffers have been planted. Forest characteristics and insect abundances are also compared to evaluate what specific aspects of the riparian buffers were correlated with increased bat activity. I found that planted riparian buffers support increased bat activity of the medium phonic guild, or forest edge generalists (Lasiurus borealis and Perimyotis subflavus) with this increase in activity correlated with increases in tree density. Other riparian characteristics, including insect abundance, were not indicators of increased bat activity. These findings support the planting and maintenance of riparian buffers within agricultural areas for wildlife conservation and promoting ecosystem services.

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