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Title: Predictive modelling of bat-habitat relationships on different spatial scales
Author: Bellamy, Chloe Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 8006
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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To develop effective conservation strategies we need to know the ecological drivers of species' distributions at different spatial scales. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and habitat suitability modelling technology provide us with the tools to examine multiscale, species-habitat relationships. We collected data on the presence of foraging bats from thirty 1 km2 field sites in the south of the Lake District National Park and used the presence-only modelling software MaxEnt to predict foraging habitat suitability across the entire Park (rv3,300 km') for seven species/species groups. Museum records of species' roosts were also used to investigate roost-habitat relationships. Using a moving window analysis we were able to assess the impact of habitat composition and structure over a range of extents (100 m - 6 km). This revealed species- and scale-specific habitat effects. The presence of foraging bats was best predicted by small scale habitat variables, which may reflect the high mobility of these mammals. The strength of roost-habitat associations tended to be more consistent across the range of scales, suggesting that bats may be sensitive to considerable landscape modification's made at great distances from the roost. Each species presence was best predicted by a unique set of enviro-geographic variables. Of the sibling Pipistre//us species, P. pygmaeus had a more narrow niche breadth because of its dependence on high water cover at large spatial scales (1 - 1.5 km) for foraging. Negative impacts of large scale urban cover were detected for P. euntos. Myotis nattereri and M. brandtiijmystacinus, whereas Pipistre//us avoided roosting within large coniferous plantations. Predictions were mapped at a fine resolution across the Park and validated with independent data, revealing that the high density of deciduous and ancient woodland across the southern Low Fells provided good foraging and roosting habitat for all species. This bat "hotspot" should be of high conservation priority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available