The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) has undergone much research; however, not many studies have been made to explain its dispersal behavior. Understanding its dispersal pattern will help understand how human-caused landscapes change and roost destruction affect the little brown bat.
Many species of bats such as Myotis myotis show a sex-influenced dispersal pattern in which the females exhibit a natal philopatric dispersal behavior (Vonhof et. al). To test whether the little brown bat exhibited this kind of dispersal behavior using population genetics tools, was the objective of this research.
A feasible method to figure out if the M. lucifugus dispersal behavior exhibited female natal philopatry was to compare the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) with the nuclear DNA of individuals from several maternal colonies. Since both males and females spread far away from their birthplace to mate, the genetic structure of their nuclear DNA, which is bi-parentally inherited, should be uniform among colonies. However, if this species showed natal philopatric behavior, the genetic structure of their mtDNA, which is inherited clonally from the mother to the offspring, should be similar among individuals within each maternal colony and different from other maternal colonies.
Additional contributors: Michael Dixon; Sharon Jansa (faculty mentor)
Fernandez, Juan D..
Testing for female natal philopatry in Myotis lucifugus using population genetics tools.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.