Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

The University of Vermont
Rubenstein School of Environment and  Natural Resources
Burlington, VT 05405

Phone: (802) 656-3011
Fax: (802) 656-8683



Indiana bats
Wood Thrush

Indiana bats

Predicting minimum habitat requirements of the Indiana bat in the Champlain Valley, Vermont and New York.

Principle Investigator
Graduate Student(s)
Funding Sources
Project Brochure
Selected Links

Principal Investigator:  Therese Donovan


Scott Darling, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Susi Von Oettingen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Al Hicks, New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Graduate Student:  Kristen Watrous

Funding Sources:

U.S. Geological Survey and Fish and Wildlife Service


Predicting potential habitat across a landscape is extremely challenging for rare species.  Analyzing habitat requirements using partitioned Mahalanobis D2 methods avoid pitfalls commonly encountered when surveying elusive species that typically have small sample sizes and low detection probabilities because it is based solely on data collected at known species locations.  Minimum habitat requirements are determined by examining a principal components analysis to determine habitat characteristics that are consistent across known locations.  The goals of this study were to (1) document and compare the minimum habitat requirements of Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) in the Champlain Valley across 7 spatial scales and (2) map potential habitat for the species throughout the same area.  We radio-tracked 24 female Indiana bats to their roost trees and across their nighttime foraging areas, and collected habitat characteristics at 7 spatial scales: 1) roost trees, 2) 0.1 ha circular plots surrounding the roost trees, 3) home ranges, and 4-7) 0.5 km, 1 km, 2 km, and 3 km buffers surrounding the roost tree.  Fifty roost trees were identified and found to be tall, large diameter trees with exfoliating bark, located typically at low elevations and close to water.  Trees in the plots surrounding roost trees were typically smaller in dbh, shorter in height, and healthier than the central roost trees.  Fourteen home ranges were found to be in areas of diverse, patchy land cover types that were close to water, with an east-facing aspect.  Across all landscape extents, the total area of forest within roost tree buffers and the aspect across those buffers were the two most consistent features.  Predictive maps indicated that suitable habitat ranged from 4.7% to 8.1% of the total area examined depending upon the number of components used, and was distributed throughout the Champlain Valley .   However, information is needed on birth and survival rates to assess habitat quality in the region.

Project Brochure:

Click here for a project brochure.


Watrous, K., T. Donovan, R. Mickey, S. Darling, A. Hicks, S. Von Oettingen.  2006.  Predicting minimum habitat characteristics for the Indiana bat in the Champlain Valley.  Journal of Wildlife Management 70:1228-1237. 
Watrous, K.  2006.  Predicting minimum habitat characteristics of the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) in the Champlain Valley of Vermont and New York.  MS Thesis, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont USA.

Selected Links:

Indiana bats
USFWS species accounts
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife 
Animal Diversity Web




Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: May 22, 2007