Master of Science (MS)
acoustic monitoring, bats, foraging, introduced species, Sierra Nevada, trout
Biology; Conservation biology; Ecology
Stocking of trout into naturally fishless water bodies in the mountains of western North America has reduced populations of many native species in those systems, with benthic aquatic invertebrates being particularly impacted. Although bats are known consumers of emergent aquatic insects, almost no studies have focused on how changes to these prey populations at lakes subsequent to trout stocking could affect them. This study assessed bat activity, foraging activity, and foraging rate at nine feature-matched pairs of stocked and unstocked high elevation lakes in the central Sierra Nevada mountains in an effort to determine which provide higher quality foraging habitat for bats. Bats in the 25 kHz and 50 kHz echolocation call categories showed little to no behavioral change between lakes with trout and lakes without. In contrast, bats in the 40 kHz group had higher levels of activity at stocked lakes, which may indicate that at those lakes bats are consuming numerous small insects. If this is the case, it could represent a cost to those bats due to the lower energetic return of small prey items compared to the preferred prey species.
Gruenstein, Elizabeth, "The Response of Bats to Introduced Trout in Naturally Fishless Lakes Sierra Nevada, California" (2014). Master's Theses. 4465.