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Purpose: To determine roosting patterns of Pipistrellus subflavus using the Morishita Index & analyze available habitat versus space occupied.
Bat conservation relies heavily on knowledge of spatial distribution of species and habitat use among species. Detailed information is lacking concerning the distribution of many bats species within cave systems and there is little quantitative information on the behavior of species as they disperse or use available habitat. Furthermore, little data exists on large-scale spatial patterns or aggregations of bat communities inside cave systems. Microscale geographic information systems (GIS) and near neighbor distances of bat aggregations have allowed us to view these large-scale patterns using the Morishita Index. The index has shown us that the fragile population of Perimyotis subflavus are slowly increasing and using available habitat. This is due to availability and use of habitat that are being constrained by varying levels of human interferences with the cave system. Some of the spatial arrangements of bats suggests avoidance of those highly impacted cave chambers. Although, we do see throughout early spring and late summer monthly surveys increased clustering or aggregations of bats. These clumping patterns have only been identified in only a few cave chambers. The results indicate that our methods and novel database are useful tools for resolving practical questions in applied ecology, conservation biology, and restoration of cave roosting species.
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