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White Nose Syndrome in bats

a deadly fungus responsible for tens of thousands of bat deaths in the eastern U.S.

lauren nowakowski

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of White Nose Syndrome in bats

White Nose Syndrome in Brown bats. White Nose Syndrome (WNS)
named for the white fungus evident on the muzzles and wings of affected bats.
associate WNS with a newly identified fungus (Geomycessp.) that thrives in the cold and humid conditions characteristic of the caves and mines used by bats.
The fungus grows only between 36-72 degrees fahrenheit a relatively cold range for a fungus but typicalof the year round temperature in the depths of most U.S. caves.

The fungus could be responsible for
bats death or it could be the secondary cause. Bats loose there fat reserves,
which they need to survive hybernation.
Long before hybernation is over.

Causing bats to leave hybernation early to find food to satisfy their hunger.
Bats often starve when they leave hybernation early
because their main source of food
is insects who also hybernate in the winter. Signs of WNS intale
white fungus on the bats nose, wings, ears and tail.
Bats flying around in the day time or in temp at or below freezing.
Dead or dying bats on the ground or on buildings, trees or other structures. WNS is believed to be
transmitted primarily from bat to bat.
It is unclear if people are spreading
the fungus. David Blehert of the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.
is working to culture the fungus from the floors and walls of the caves to determine whether clothing and equipment could spread the fungus. But if the syndrome spreads primarily from bat to bat as seems to be the case closure will have little effect. When WNS grows on the wings it causes swelling and scarring. Which is not good for the bats because wing membrane is essential for regulating physiological functions such as body temperature, and blood pressure. It was first discovered in a cave in Schoharie in February 2006.
Biologists have documented WNS in hibernacula in New Hampshire, Vermont
New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
and Virginia. And they expect the list of states to increase over time.

Thousands of people have visited affected caves and mines since WNS was first observed, and there have been no reported illnesses from the exposure to WNS. As many as 400,000 bats have died from WNS,
and there seems to be no end in sight.(primarily little brown bats) While there are many possible causes of WNS being investigated, there is currently no evidence to support a link between climate change to WNS. The steps that are being taken to help minimize WNS are by focusing on three main areas.
research, monitoring, and outreach.
EX: conducting winter surveys to document and track affected sites. Working with the caving community and local cave owners to target potential sites for surveys and protective measures, and securing funding to identify and fund research on the spread and managment of WNS.
The depleting population of brown bats can start to effect humans because the number of mosquitos and other insects will start to increase, because a bat can eat as much as up to its own weight in insects each night. An increase in insect population could effect a number of people,
but primarily farmers would be effected the most because of crop damage. Unless more answers appear soon measures such as killing all of the infected bats that live in theses caves may be all that can keep the spread of WNS from rewriting the ecological rules.
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