This time Batman needs help … with whitenose syndrome
by: Junior Andrade, Azariah Boyd, Kasey Dietzman, Zachary Fanara (Stonehill College Evolution Fall 2017)
Many people forget that bats are not just there for inspiring big-name superheroes. Bats play a critical role in pollination of many commercial products throughout the world such as bananas and peaches just to name a few. Bats also play an essential role in crop growth by maintaining the populations of common pests. However, bats in North America are in a time of crisis and it all began with fungus. Pseudogymnoascus destructans (P. destructans), a cold loving fungus, is able to grow in hibernating bats when their bodies reach a temperature of 39 to 68 degrees. This fungus grows and makes the bats ill and spiked a recent decline in North American bats. The disease was named White-nose syndrome due to the fungal growth resulting in white substance on the muzzle of the bats. White-nose syndrome has specifically hurt the North American little brown myotis bat which has been driven to the endangered species list in under ten years due to the syndrome.
The scariest part White-nose syndrome is that it can be transmitted between bat populations in many ways. Not only can be it spread from one infected bat to another but can also be picked up from roosting in caves other dark places where bats like to hibernate that contain other infected bats . Another way that the syndrome is spread is by human beings who carry the bacteria on their clothing or shoes when they enter bat hibernation spots. In order to raise awareness of this issue and save our bat friends, we had a discussion this week on the WhiteNOseSyndrome podcast this week which can be found at the link above.
We had a chance this week to speaker with a leading scientist in the field, Dr. Christina Davy. Dr. Davy is an adjunct professor at Trent University who recently conducted research regarding White-nose Syndrome. Dr. Davy and her team aimed to study the differences in White-nose syndrome in North American and European bats based on environmental conditions. Both species of bats were exposed to controlled quantities of the fungus and while North American bats became infected, European bats showed no signs of infection. For more information on this study and findings, the full article can be reached at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.3234/full.
White-nose syndrome is a prevalent issue in North America today. Although there is no known cure, it is extremely important for us humans to take as many preventative actions as possible to slow the spread of the disease.
For more information for what you can regarding White-nose Syndrome, please feel free to follow our twitter (@savethebats_). In addition, more information regarding Dr. Christina Davey can be reached at the following website Researcher website: https://christinadavy.wordpress.com/
Intro Podcast Music: Atomic Battery by Scomber (c) copyright 2010 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/scomber/26123 Ft: Alex Beroza & Forensic, HiStakes and Snowflake
“Bats Are Important.” Bats Are: Bats Are Important, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org/why-bats/bats-are/bats-are-important.
Bat picture: By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Article Citation: Davy, Christina M.,Donalson ME, Willis CKR, et al. “The Other White-Nose Syndrome Transcriptome: Tolerant and Susceptible Hosts Respond Differently to the Pathogen Pseudogymnoascus Destructans.” Ecology and Evolution, vol. 7, no. 18, Feb. 2017, pp. 7161–7170. doi:10.1002/ece3.3234. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.3234/full
Concluding Podcast Music: Secret Agent 120209 (Instrumental Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56161
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