Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientist Helps Confirm Link between Fungus and Bat Epidemic

08.11.2011
Bats in North America are under attack. Since 2006, more than a million have been killed. Little has been done to save them, because there has not been enough evidence to implicate the suspect—until now.

A study has discovered that the fungus Geomyces destructans is the causal agent of White-nose Syndrome (WNS), the fungal disease decimating the bat population.

The study is coauthored by Justin Boyles, a post-doctoral research associate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a team led by David Blehert at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center together with Jeffrey Lorch, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. WNS is dubbed so because affected bats develop halos of white fungus around their muzzles. The symptoms of WNS include loss of body fat, unusual winter behavior, lesions to the wing membranes, and death.

The findings are published in the latest edition of Nature.

G. destructans has been thought to be the likely culprit, because the skin lesions characteristic of the disease are associated with colonization of the fungus. Still, the role of G. destructans in WNS has remained controversial, because evidence proving the fungus as the primary cause of the disease was lacking.

"Many assumed that fungal infections in mammals only occur if some other pathogen has already weakened the immune system," said Boyles. "Additionally, the recent discovery that G. destructans commonly colonizes the skin of bats in Europe with no major die-offs generated speculation that other unidentified factors are the primary cause of WNS."

To put the speculation to rest, the researchers set up an experiment to see if G. destructans causes WNS. They housed healthy little brown bats in a laboratory under hibernation conditions and treated them with G. destructans. Exposure to the fungus caused WNS in the healthy bats. They also found that WNS can be transmitted from infected bats to healthy bats through direct contact.

"This information can be very useful to managers in their efforts to contain the spread of the disease," said Boyles. "These results provide the first direct evidence that G. destructans is the causal agent of WNS and that the recent emergence of WNS in North America suggests the fungus is new to the continent and the bats here have not developed immunity to the disease."

The researchers are hopeful the findings will allow land managers and reseachers to focus efforts on solutions that may slow the spread of the fungus to new bat populations.

"By illustrating that the fungus causes WNS, we are taking an instrumental step in clarifying how this disease develops and how to control it," said Boyles. "We hope our findings are useful in guiding management actions to preserve bat populations against this novel and devastating threat."

Boyles collaborated with Blehert, Lorch, Carol Meteyer and Anne Ballmann from the National Wildlife Health Center at the USGS in Madison, Wisc.; Melissa Behr at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison, Wisc.; Paul Cryan from the Fort Collins Science Center at USGS in Fort Collins, Colo.; Alan Hicks from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany, N.Y.; Jeremy Coleman from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Hadley, Mass.; David Redell from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Madison, Wisc.; and DeeAnn Reeder from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa.

Whitney Heins | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.utk.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>