Posted on January 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
White-nose syndrome may be nearly impossible to eradicate from caves.
New study traces biological evolution of bat-killing fungus
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A new study by University of Akron scientists forecasts a gloomy future for North American bats, showing that the fungus that causes the deadly white-nose syndrome can likely survive in caves with or without the presence of bats.
The persistence of the fungus threatens regional extinction of some bat species, according to the new study published in PLOS One. White-nose syndrome has killed almost 7 million bats and appears to be relentlessly spreading across the country.
“The ability of the fungus to grow in caves absent of bats would mean that future attempts to reintroduce bats to caves would be doomed to failure,” said University of Akron associate biology professor Hazel Barton. Continue reading
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Posted on October 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
‘All in all the news for hibernating bats in the U.S. is pretty grim’
A little brown bat with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The deadly fungus that has killed millions of bats across the U.S. is a tough, opportunistic organism that can eat almost anything and survive in a wide range of conditions.
There seems to very little that might stop the Geomyces destructans from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves, according to University of Illinois scientists who recently studied the basic biology of the fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome. Continue reading
Filed under: bats, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, white-nose syndrome | Tagged: bats, biodiversity, Environment, Geomyces destructans, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
A northern long-eared bat. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation; Al Hicks.
USFWS seeking public comment on listing proposal
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Threatened by white-nose syndrome, wind farms and habitat destruction, northern long-eared bats may soon get some additional protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this month proposed the listing, singling out white-nose syndrome as the primary threat in response to a petition filed by conservation groups.
The fungal disease has already killed about 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Canada. Populations of the northern long-eared bat in the Northeast have declined by 99 percent since symptoms of white-nose syndrome were first observed in 2006. Continue reading
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Posted on August 5, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Bat-killing white-nose syndrome continues to spread.
New tests enable earlier detection
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Better lab tests may help biologists get a little bit of a jump on a bat-killing disease that is spreading westward across the country.
Last week, state biologists in Arkansas said they’ve confirmed the presence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in two northern Arkansas caves by using the updated tests. The samples were collected last winter from the walls of the caves and from bats, though there are no reports of dead or sick bats.
White-nose syndrome was first reported in New York in the winter of 2006-2007. Since then, the disease has killed more than 6 million bats, in some places all but wiping out local populations. Since bats help pollinate many plant species and eat huge amounts of insects, the disease has huge economic and ecological implications. Continue reading
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Posted on July 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Suppressed immune systems making insect-eating species more susceptible to different pathogens
Two years ago, this species of bee vanished from local flowerbeds in Frisco, Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Waves of emerging wildlife diseases that are killing huge numbers of insect-eating animals could all be linked to the use of a new class of pesticides, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology.
Neonicotinoids and related pesticides may be suppressing the immune system of bees, bats and even amphibians, making them much more susceptible to parasites, viruses and fungal infections, the researchers found after comparing geographical patterns of emerging diseases with the use of neonicotinoids.
Insects feeding on the pollen and nectar of crops treated with the pesticides absorb the chemicals and the poison is subsequently passed on to animals higher up the food chain that prey on those bugs, the scientists hypothesized, citing evidence of deviation from normal pathogen-host relationships. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Colony collapse disorder, Environment, neonicotinoids, pesticides, white-nose syndrome | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Re-opening caves could lead to spread of deadly white-nose syndrome
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service this week denied an appeal of a new cave-access policy for the Rocky Mountain region, clearing the way for the re-opening of some caves that have been under a blanket closure the past three years to try and prevent the spread of bat-killing white-nose syndrome.
The fungal pathogen was probably introduced to caves in the Northeast by humans and quickly spread to kill more than 7 million bats as far west as Missouri and Oklahoma. Bats are unsung members of the country’s ecosystems, providing valuable insect-control and pollination services. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: bats, Center for Biological Diversity, U.S. Forest Service, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 9, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Appeal says new rules won’t protect bats from white-nose syndrome
A Missouri bat that died after being infected with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy USGS.
* Click here for more Summit Voice coverage of white-nose syndrome
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation groups say U.S. Forest Service officials made an arbitrary and capricious decision when they replaced a widespread cave and mine closure with a weaker rule that could lead to the introduction of a deadly bat disease in the Rocky Mountain region.
In its appeal, the Center for Biological Diversity said that required decontamination procedures are questionable at best under field conditions, and that mandatory closures of caves when white-nose syndrome is detected within 250 miles doesn’t go far enough to protect bats.
Travelers and cave visitors could easily span that distance before the disease is ever detected, thus inadvertently spreading the disease into West, which so far has remained free of the disease that has wiped out more than 5 million bats across the eastern U.S. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, biodiversity, Colorado, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: bats, Environment, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region, white-nose syndrome | 1 Comment »