Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Richard Carter

Committee Members

Gerardo Arceo-Gomez, Aaron Corcoran


Roosts provide an opportunity to census philopatric populations of bats. Comparing the efficacy of traditional methods with novel methods can provide guidance on the use of new technologies in the field. This project aims to compare the count efficacy of external emergence methodologies, i.e., drone-acquired thermal imagery, acoustic estimates, and visual counts. Surveys were conducted ten nights at two emergence sites and synchronized to compare counts. Acoustic estimates could not be established as there was a weak prediction of the linear relationship between root-mean-square pressure and emergence count; therefore, this method was removed from the comparative analysis. A linear mixed-effects model and Bonferroni correction found a significant difference in visual and thermal methods at the eastern Tennessee site. Additionally, there was an overall median similarity of 92% from counts obtained from the compared methods. This study supports the validity of drone-acquired thermal imagery for external emergence counts.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Available for download on Friday, September 15, 2023