Research Task: RB00CN9.6.0
Task Manager: Paul Cryan
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating affliction that threatens the survival of hibernating bats in North America. WNS and the unique fungus thought to cause the disease have spread in the first 3 years since discovery from a very small area of New York across more than 1,000 miles and numerous states. Over one million hibernating bats are estimated to have died during the first 3 winters since WNS emerged, all 4 federally listed endangered species and subspecies of hibernating cave bats are in harmís way, and more than half of the 45 species of bats occurring in the United States are potentially susceptible. This task aims to better understand the causes and dynamics of WNS, so that we are in a better position to cope with this growing wildlife crisis. FORT biologists are continuing to help coordinate general research efforts, provide technical support on aspects of bat ecology to the scientific community, and are developing tools and field studies aimed at better understanding the disease. We are developing monitoring tools to study behaviors of affected bats during winter in caves where they hibernate, investigating physiological consequences of fungal infection in bats, developing a web-based tracking system to assist with the response and investigation, modeling the potential for the disease to spread, and moving toward development of field techniques for conducting WNS epidemiological studies in wild populations of bats.
For more information contact Paul Cryan