Maternity groups of many bat species conform to fission-fusion models and movements among diurnal roost trees and individual bats belonging to these groups use networks of roost trees. Forest disturbances may alter roost networks and characteristics of roost trees. Therefore, at the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia, we examined roost tree networks of northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) in forest stands subjected to prescribed fire and in unmanipulated control treatments in 2008 and 2009. Northern myotis formed social groups whose roost areas and roost tree networks overlapped to some extent. Roost tree networks largely resembled scale-free network models, as 61% had a single central node roost tree. In control treatments, central node roost trees were in early stages of decay and surrounded by greater basal area than other trees within the networks. In prescribed fire treatments, central node roost trees were small in diameter, low in the forest canopy, and surrounded by low basal area compared to other trees in networks. Our results indicate that forest disturbances, including prescribed fire, can affect availability and distribution of roosts within roost tree networks. ?? 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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Roost networks of northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) in a managed landscape