Posted on November 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A bat displays signs of the deadly white-nose syndrome. Photo via USFWS.
Nebraska officials confirm presence of white-nose syndrome
Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has been confirmed in Nebraska, which means the deadly fungus has now spread to 26 states and five Canadian provinces, wiping out populations of hibernating bats along the way.
“While the presence of the fungus is disappointing, it is not surprising,” said Mike Fritz, a zoologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “With the fungus being present in states around us and the migratory nature of bats, it was probably only a matter of time before it was documented in Nebraska.” Continue reading
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Posted on September 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A little brown bat afflicted with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy USFWS.
Some bats may only survive in remnant populations
LINZ — Even as they grapple with the devastating decline of bat populations caused by white-nose syndrome, researchers are starting to take a look at how, if and when some bats might recover from the fungal disease that has decimated colonies across the eastern U.S.
For at least one species, the outlook isn’t all that bright, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists who took a close look at the once-common little brown bat. Continue reading
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Posted on June 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Standardized monitoring to help assess population trends
Thousand of bats fly out of a roost near Saguache, Colorado, an event that draws wildlife watchers each year. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
FRISCO — U.S. Forest Service scientists hope a new report will help scientists across the country track bats more effectively in an era when the flying mammals are facing unprecedented threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, white-nose syndrome , wind energy development, and climate change.
Better tracking can help resource managers get the information they need to manage bat populations effectively, by detecting early warning signs of population declines, and estimating extinction risks.
White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats since it was first detected in 2006, and more than 1 million have been killed at wind energy facilities since 2000. Combined with intensified pressure from land-use changes, scientists say there’s a real need for a continent-wide standardized monitoring system. Continue reading
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Posted on May 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has spread west in Oklahoma. Photo via USFWS.
Are western bats at risk?
FRISCO — A bat-killing fungal disease that has wiped out millions of the winged mammals has spread west into Oklahoma, reinforcing concerns that bats across the country are at risk from white-nose syndrome.
Three tricolored bats in a cave in Delaware County tested positive for the fungus, according to Oklahoma wildife biologists. This early detection is likely a precursor to the appearance of the full-blown disease in two to three years, according to conservation biologists with the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading
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Posted on April 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates say more protection needed
FRISCO — Bat-killing white-nose syndrome has spread into Iowa, state wildlife officials confirmed this week, announcing that the deadly fungal disease was found on three bats near a cave entrance in Des Moines County (two little brown bats and one northern long-eared) and on four little brown bats collected in Van Buren County this winter.
Biologists first detected the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in an Iowa cave in 2011, but did not find afflicted bats until this winter. The latest report means that the disease is now present in more than half of the 50 states, concentrated in the eastern half of the country, and once again, conservation groups are sounding the alarm, charging that wildlife agencies aren’t doing enough to protect the flying mammals. Continue reading
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Posted on January 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A bat shows symptoms of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that is wiping out bat populations in the U.S. Photo courtesy USGS.
Study tests energy depletion hypothesis
FRISCO —New research by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin is helping biologists solve the puzzle of white-nose syndrome, the fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in the eastern U.S. The new study how the disease progresses from initial infection to death in bats during hibernation.
“This model is exciting for us, because we now have a framework for understanding how the disease functions within a bat,” said University of Wisconsin and USGS National Wildlife Health Center scientist Michelle Verant, the lead author of the study. “The mechanisms detailed in this model will be critical for properly timed and effective disease mitigation strategies.” Continue reading
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Posted on November 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Close observation of bat behavior around wind turbines may help reduce bat deaths.
Study results may aid bat conservation
FRISCO — Scientists say they may be a step closer to being able to reduce widespread bat mortality associated with the development of wind energy.
Based on months of nighttime video surveillance, U.S. Geological Society researchers say some species of the flying mammals may be mistaking the wind turbines for trees. The tree-roosting bats may be confusing the turbines for trees, according to USGS scientist Paul Cryan.
“If we can understand why bats approach wind turbines, we may be able to turn them away,” Cryan said. “Advances in technology helped us overcome the difficulties of watching small bats flying in the dark around the 40-story heights of wind turbines. The new behaviors we saw are useful clues in the quest to know how bats perceive wind turbines and why they approach them.” Continue reading
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