Date of this Version
Fill CT, Allen CR, Benson JF, Twidwell D (2023) Spatial and temporal activity patterns among sympatric tree-roosting bat species in an agriculturally dominated great plains landscape. PLoS ONE 18(6): e0286621. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0286621
In agroecosystems, bats can provide a critical ecosystem service by consuming night-flying insect pests. However, many bats also face intense population pressures from human landscape modification, global change and novel diseases. To better understand the behavioral activity of different bat species with respect to space, time, habitat, and other bat species in this environment, we investigated species correlations in space and time over row crop agricultural fields. We used acoustic grids to document spatial and temporal co-occurrence or avoidance between bats and recorded eight species across the 10 field sites we sampled. All species significantly overlapped in two-dimensional space and displayed considerable temporal overlap during the night, yet often exhibited significantly different temporal activity patterns, suggesting fine scale partitioning behavior. Conversion of land to agriculture is likely to increase globally, making it critical to better understand how bat species interact with one another and the landscape to facilitate persistence in these human altered ecosystems.
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