Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Jones, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Moosman Jr.

Third Advisor

Dr. Anna Mummert


Studies of threats that bats face during hibernation have increased in response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has ravaged North American bat populations. However, impacts of WNS on bat ecology during spring emergence, when bats are potentially recovering from infection and allocating resources for reproduction, is relatively understudied. As more bat species become listed at the federal and state level, the need to understand the factors associated with spring emergence is critical for improving conservation guidelines and habitat management practices. Acoustic monitoring is an efficient method for monitoring bat presence for prolonged periods of time, giving biologists a broad picture of bat activity over time with relatively low costs compared to other methods such as mist-net surveys. I conducted acoustic monitoring and assessed factors associated with bat presence during spring emergence in Virginia using Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) to compare candidate models. Additionally, I assessed bat acoustic presence by phonic group (low, mid, and high frequency calls), to understand differences between bats with different foraging strategies. My results suggest that overall, bat presence corresponded with a combination of site, date, and nightly temperature. Elevation, land cover type, and proximity to urban centers also exhibited relationships with bat activity, but relative importance of these variables were difficult to discern because they were conflated with site. Bats with high frequency calls, which includes several Myotis species with high conservation concern, were all recorded at a single site. Additional long-term monitoring should be conducted to determine if these results are consistent from year to year and to identify other sites with threatened or endangered species.


Bats -- Ecology -- Virginia.

Bats -- Conservation -- Virginia.

Akaike Information Criterion.

Frequency -- Monitoring.

Myotis sodalis.

Northern long-eared myotis.

Tri-colored bat.

Little brown bat.

Eastern small-footed myotis.

Hoary bat.

Eastern red bat.

Silver-haired bat.

Big brown bat.