Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Luke E. Dodd

Second Advisor

Kelly Watson


Within the Daniel Boone National Forest (DBNF) in Kentucky, over 800 upland-embedded wetlands (UEWs) have been constructed in past decades to provide habitat for bats and other wildlife. This research focused on identifying differences in bat activity and occupancy across natural and constructed UEWs. Acoustic detectors were deployed at 9 natural and 31 constructed UEWs across the Cumberland Ranger District of the DBNF. Each UEW was surveyed across 3 intervals from May – August 2022, and each recording session spanned >3 consecutive nights, yielding a total of 413 detector nights. Occupancy modeling and AIC model selection were used to evaluate the influence of environmental covariates on species-specific detection probability and habitat characteristics of site-occupancy for of bats 5 species groups (based on echolocation similarities). Factors influencing bat detection and occupancy varied among species groups. Probability of detection was commonly and negatively affected by precipitation, but was also negatively influenced by windspeed, and survey month across species groups. Occupancy of Myotis ssp. was negatively associated with percent slope of the landscape, while no other habitat variables was significantly associated with occupancy of other species groups. Bat activity was positively associated with the presence of standing water across most species groups. These data suggest constructed UEWs that do not dry during the year provide more consistently-used habitat for a variety of bat species. The influence that slope may have on UEWs should be considered during future construction efforts to effectively manage for imperiled Myotis species. Results of this study will provide resource managers with insight as to what UEW conditions are most important for bat communities in the Appalachian region.

Included in

Biology Commons