Acta Theriologica

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 223–231 | Cite as

Genetic structuring of northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) at multiple spatial scales

  • Joshua B. JohnsonEmail author
  • James H. Roberts
  • Timothy L. King
  • John W. Edwards
  • W. Mark Ford
  • David A. Ray
Original Paper


Although groups of bats may be genetically distinguishable at large spatial scales, the effects of forest disturbances, particularly permanent land use conversions on fine-scale population structure and gene flow of summer aggregations of philopatric bat species are less clear. We genotyped and analyzed variation at 10 nuclear DNA microsatellite markers in 182 individuals of the forest-dwelling northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) at multiple spatial scales, from within first-order watersheds scaling up to larger regional areas in West Virginia and New York. Our results indicate that groups of northern myotis were genetically indistinguishable at any spatial scale we considered, and the collective population maintained high genetic diversity. It is likely that the ability to migrate, exploit small forest patches, and use networks of mating sites located throughout the Appalachian Mountains, Interior Highlands, and elsewhere in the hibernation range have allowed northern myotis to maintain high genetic diversity and gene flow regardless of forest disturbances at local and regional spatial scales. A consequence of maintaining high gene flow might be the potential to minimize genetic founder effects following population declines caused currently by the enzootic White-nose Syndrome.


Microsatellite Myotis septentrionalis New York Northern myotis Population genetics West Virginia 



We thank C. Dobony, K. Cunningham, and field technicians for collecting wing punches at Fort Drum, New York. J. Rodrigue graciously provided field assistance at Fernow EF. M. Crockett, K. Sturm, and their staff at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge provided field assistance and access to the Refuge. We thank H. Pagan, N. Platt, J. Smith, and M. Thompson of West Virginia University, and M. Eackles, R. Johnson, B. Lubinski, M. Springmann, and Dr. J. Switzer at the USGS Leetown Science Center for assistance with lab procedures and data analysis. The USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station Joint Venture Agreement 06-JV-11242300-140 provided primary funding for our study from the National Fire Plan to West Virginia University, Division of Forestry and Natural Resources. Funding for prescribed burning was provided by a grant from Florida Power and Light and BHE Environmental to the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station through Collection Agreement 06-CO-112331-034. We thank two anonymous reviewers for improving the quality of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua B. Johnson
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  • James H. Roberts
    • 2
  • Timothy L. King
    • 3
  • John W. Edwards
    • 1
  • W. Mark Ford
    • 4
  • David A. Ray
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Forestry and Natural ResourcesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of Fish and Wildlife ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological SurveyLeetown Science Center-Aquatic Ecology BranchKearneysvilleUSA
  4. 4.U.S. Geological Survey Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  5. 5.Department of BiologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  6. 6.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  7. 7.Pennsylvania Game CommissionHarrisburgUSA

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