Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Biological Science



First Advisor

Richard Buchholz

Second Advisor

Gail Stratton

Third Advisor

Jason Hoeksema

Relational Format



There are a variety of (non-exclusive) reasons to explain the presence of group-living, but clustering or huddling is especially important for small endotherms with high surface-area-to-volume ratios. Clustering is interesting because variations within clustering are seldom investigated despite anecdotal evidence that bat clustering varies widely. I studied a colony of Rafinesque's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) to learn more about clustering behavior using infrared video. I predicted that temperature would be the primary driver of how and when bats cluster while roosting. The actual relationship was not as predicted by an energetic model. High density clusters of bats were comacross a wide range of ambient and roost temperatures, and substantial clustering variation exists. The bats i captured (79 individuals) shono sign of the causal agent of wns. I found that areas of the roost used by bats were less variable in temperature but not warmer than areas not used. Also presented are preliminary nighttime foraging locations for bats at this roost site. These results provide insight into energetics, clustering behavior, and general ecology for an uncomspecies in a part of its range where it has not been previously studied. These data should be useful for future behavioral and/or energetic investigations as well as for conservation decision-making. Resampling of variation in bat numbers suggested that building roosts require at least 3 visits to confirm bat absence and 16 visits to count the maximum number of bats using the site. Finally, i discuss considerations and ideas for future research.

Included in

Biology Commons



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