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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

SURVEY OF INSECT AVAILABILITY FOR FORAGING BATS IN THE SHOAL CREEK DISTRICT OF ALABAMA'S TALLADEGA NATIONAL FOREST

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the availability of prey insects for insectivorous bats in the Shoal Creek District of Alabama’s Talladega National Forest. The Shoal Creek district of the Talladega National Forest (in NE Alabama) contains one of the largest remnants of montane longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States whose fire management is targeted toward improving habitat for the federally endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Leucinotopicus borealis). However, these forests are also home to several bat species including the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the Long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Our study assessed bat activity and insect occurrence (abundance and diversity) across three prescribed fire treatments: high burn frequency (0-4 years), medium burn frequency (4-8 years), and low burn frequency (8+ years). Areas of bat occupancy/activity were determined using acoustic data collected from automated ultrasonic detectors. Insect abundance and diversity were surveyed in areas of confirmed bat occupancy. Lepidoptera and Coleoptera were the most abundant insect orders collected in any of the treatment areas. Insects were most abundant and diverse within the medium burn treatment, whereas, the high burn frequency sites contained the lowest insect abundance and diversity.

Acknowledgements

UWG Biology Department, U.S. Forest Service

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