WNS Blog

Guest blog: resource scientist Tony Elliott recaps Missouri bat surveys

In the middle of a tough hibernation season for bats, it is great to hear some good news. ?With several new states and a third Canadian province confirming a number of new WNS sites in 2011, Missouri remains hopeful that the disease will not take hold. I was fortunate enough to be invited to assist in some Indiana bat and WNS surveys with Missouri Department of Conservation resource scientist Tony Elliot and cave biology assistant Shelly Colatskie earlier this year. Tony was kind enough to offer this update after MDC’s winter survey season. We have wrapped a busy winter of cave survey...

Guest blog: wildlife biologist Ella Rowan inspired by students

To say it can sometimes be a personal challenge to remain positive while working on WNS would be an understatement. We often hear “is there any good news?” when it comes to WNS. Usually, the positivity in this work comes from our partnerships with other federal, state and tribal agencies and our research, university and NGO partners. Occasionally something amazing happens and we are reminded that there are a lot of people who really care about bats and what we do. Guest blogger Ella Rowan talks a little bit about being inspired to continue her work with WNS. In January 2011, I...

Bats are beautiful: Artwork inspired by 30+ years of working with bats

Chester O. Martin has been working with bats for more than 30 years, and still finds them captivating. “I started working with bats while at Texas A&M in the 70s, doing my thesis work with pallid bats.” said Martin. His bat and wildlife-inspired artwork is on display this week at the 2011 Eastern Bat Working Group Meeting in Louisville, Ky. Chester, who recently retired from his position as wildlife biologist with the Army Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi, was instrumental in getting the Army interested in bat research, and has been conducting bat studies on...

National WNS team meets with USFWS Deputy Director Dan Ashe

National WNS Coordinator Jeremy Coleman and Communications Leader Ann Froschauer met today with Deputy Director Dan Ashe at the USFWS Northeast Regional Biologists Conference in Baltimore, Md. Ashe, nominated as director of the USFWS, addressed questions about the USFWS response to white-nose syndrome during a confirmation hearing earlier this week. Over 400 fish and wildlife biologists from the Northeast attended the conference, where Coleman presented a session on the history, current research and management strategy related to white-nose syndrome. Guest speakers, noteably Dr. Tom Kunz of...

Is there a relationship between white nose syndrome and colony collapse disorder in bees?

One of the most common inquiries I receive asks if there is any relationship between colony collapse disorder in bees and white-nose syndrome in bats. I asked microbiologist David Blehert with the USGS National Wildlife Health Center to explain the similarities and differences between the two wildlife diseases:People have frequently asked whether there is a connection between colony collapse disorder (CCD) in domestic honey bees and white-nose syndrome (WNS) in wild bats. Despite perceived similarities, the bee and bat diseases are quite different. Colony collapse disorder affects a single...

Guest blog: USGS Research Biologist Paul Cryan talks about his work with WNS

Many of you probably saw the recent media coverage of the “Tattered Wings” research paper (see USGS Press Release and podcast). This excellent paper explores the effects of WNS on bats’ wing tissue, and how this damage could lead to the mortality of WNS-affected bats. Paul Cryan, lead author and Research Biologist at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center, talks a little bit about his experiences with the research behind this paper. It was four years ago this winter that cavers and biologists started noticing very strange things happening with bats hibernating at a few caves near Albany, New...

New White-Nose Syndrome Social Media Presence

Hello everyone, We are happy to announce the recent launch of our White-Nose Syndrome in Bats Facebook and Twitter pages! Stay up-to-date on white-nose syndrome news and events by ‘liking’ and ‘following’ our WNS pages. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/usfwswns Twitter: http://twitter.com/usfws_wns Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsnortheast/sets/72157622507962203/ Have a wonderful holiday!

Who cares about WNS?

Just over a week ago I received an email with some difficult questions about white-nose syndrome. This wasn’t just any email, the questions were extremely insightful, and the author had put a lot of thought into making connections between the scientific literature on WNS and the physiological effects of WNS on bats; comparing Geomyces destructans and other fungal pathogens in the environment; and exploring public sentiment about bats, their import in the environment and to our economy and culture. I am accustomed to getting really thoughtful emails and questions about WNS in bats, but this...

Update from North American Society for Bat Research Symposium

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the 40th North American Society for Bat Research Symposium in Denver, CO. It was good to catch up with some bat research friends from the southeast and midwest, and to have an opportunity to meet in person all the amazing, hard-working researchers and state and federal agency employees I work with over email and the telephone every day. A variety of research presentations addressed every aspect of white-nose syndrome and its impact on bats and bat populations. Professional researchers, university scientists and students presented on WNS related...

New WNS decontamination protocols available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has posted new white-nose syndrome decontamination protocols and supporting documentation for cavers.While bat-to-bat transmission is believed to be the primary method for the spread of the fungus likely responsible for WNS (Geomyces destructans), recent research and long-distance jumps in WNS affected sites suggests that human-assisted transmission does pose a threat to bat populations.Recent pilot studies have determined that fungal spores can be transferred from cave sediment to cave gear, including equipment and clothing, then transported to an...