Date of Award

Winter 12-11-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Christine Brodsky

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Bulliner

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Hooey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Whitney


Bat populations have plummeted in Missouri since the introduction of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in 2012, presenting challenges in researching understudied species’ habitat ecology. Frequently incorporated survey techniques, such as mist netting and radio-telemetry, have become unreliable post-WNS. In response to address the challenge of studying rare species, we explored the alternative strategies of acoustic monitoring, acoustic lures, and human dimension surveys that may enhance surveys. Our goals from these objectives included comparing the methods to recommend better management decisions for imperiled bat species post-WNS. For Chapter I, we surveyed three imperiled bat species in southeastern Missouri, including the northern long-eared bat Myotis septentrionalis, little brown bat Myotis lucifugus, and tricolored bat Perimyotis subflavus using mist-netting and acoustic monitoring. We assessed the efficacy of modern acoustic monitoring activities to more traditional approaches of mist-netting and radio-telemetry. We never captured northern long-eared bats or little brown bats during our mist net surveys, but we did detect them acoustically. Chapter II evaluated the acoustic lures’ success in increasing detection success of mist net and acoustic detector surveys. We captured two tricolored bats when we used an acoustic lure and detected them acoustically during the two years of the study. Our capture success allowed us to identify the first tricolored bat maternity roost within a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) area in Carter County through radio-telemetry. We found our acoustic lure positively affected the acoustic activity of the endangered Indiana bat Myotis sodalis and big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus. We also assessed a human dimensions analysis to assess the level of public familiarity of bat species in Missouri, WNS awareness, perceived attitudes, and trust in the MDC. We found that respondents were less knowledgeable about WNS and bat natural history, despite their overall positive or neutral perception of bats. The public in our study trusted the MDC as a natural resource management agency. Both public trust and accurate knowledge of bat natural history and threats must be accounted for when suggesting forest management modifications to benefit our three imperiled target species.



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