Influences of scale on bat habitat relationships in a forested landscape in Nicaragua

Carol L Chambers, Samuel A. Cushman, Arnulfo Medina-Fitoria, José Martínez-Fonseca, Marlon Chávez-Velásquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Context: Scale dependence of bat habitat selection is poorly known with few studies evaluating relationships among landscape metrics such as class versus landscape, or metrics that measure composition or configuration. This knowledge can inform conservation approaches to mitigate habitat loss and fragmentation. Objectives: We evaluated scale dependence of habitat associations and scaling patterns of landscape metrics in relation to bat occurrence or capture rate in forests of southwestern Nicaragua. Methods: We captured 1537 bats at 35 locations and measured landscape and class metrics across 10 spatial scales (100–1000 m) surrounding capture locations. We conducted univariate scaling across the 10 scales and identified scales and variables most related to bat occurrence or capture rate. Results: Edge and patch density, at both landscape and class levels, were the most important variables across species. Feeding guilds varied in their response to metrics. Certain landscape and configuration metrics were most influential at fine (100 m) and/or broad (1000 m) spatial scales while most class and composition metrics were influential at intermediate scales. Conclusions: These results provide insight into the scale dependence of habitat associations of bat species and the influence of fine and broad scales on habitat associations. The effects of scale, examined in our study and others from fine (100 m) to broad (5 km) indicate habitat relationships for bats may be more informative at larger scales. Our results suggest there could be general differences in scale relationships for different groups of landscape metrics, which deserves further evaluation in other taxonomic groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalLandscape Ecology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 12 2016

Keywords

  • Chiroptera
  • Forest fragmentation
  • FRAGSTATS
  • Landscape composition
  • Landscape configuration
  • Landscape metrics
  • Multi-scale habitat modeling
  • Scale-dependent habitat selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Geography, Planning and Development

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    Chambers, C. L., Cushman, S. A., Medina-Fitoria, A., Martínez-Fonseca, J., & Chávez-Velásquez, M. (Accepted/In press). Influences of scale on bat habitat relationships in a forested landscape in Nicaragua. Landscape Ecology, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-016-0343-4