Protected areas may function as islands of habitat in otherwise adverse environments for many species of North American animals. It is currently unclear how to maintain suitable foraging habitat for bats within these areas. Bats are nocturnal and highly mobile, making their specific needs difficult to determine. Using data collected from acoustically surveyed sites within protected areas in the Oak Openings Region of Northwest Ohio, a biodiversity hotspot, we developed spatially explicit macrohabitat models using maximum entropy modeling (Maxent). We then used data collected by citizen scientists to test these models to determine their success in predicting species presence. We found that the models were successful (AUC values > 0.75) at predicting the occurrence of the seven species for which models were developed, Lasionycteris noctivagans, Lasiurus borealis, Lasiuruscinereus, Myotis lucifugus, Myotiss eptentrionalis, Nycticeius humeralis, and Perimyotis subflavus. Within protected areas, it is important to manage for heterogeneous habitat composition at this intermediate scale to maintain potential for foraging areas for all occurring bat species. Data collected by citizen scientists is useful to test spatially explicit models and can potentially be used to monitor long term changes in bat species composition in these systems and across regions.
Key words: Bats, maxent, northwest Ohio, citizen science, parklands.
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