Browsing by Subject "chiroptera"

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  • Blomberg, Anna S.; Vasko, Ville; Salonen, Saku; Petersons, Gunars; Lilley, Thomas M. (2021)
    Highly mobile species are considered to be the first to respond to climate change by transforming their ranges of distribution. There is evidence suggesting that Pipistrellus nathusii, a species capable of long-distance migration, is expanding both its reproduction and overwintering ranges to the North. We recorded the echolocation calls of bats at 16 sites in South-Western Finland on two consecutive winters, and detected calls of P. nathusii at one of the sites throughout the second winter. To our knowledge, this is the northernmost record of an overwintering P. nathusii, and contributes to evidence that the species is already responding to climate change.
  • Lilley, Thomas M.; Sävilammi, Tiina; Ossa, Gonzalo; Blomberg, Anna S.; Vasemägi, Anti; Yung, Veronica; Vendrami, David L. J.; Johnson, Joseph S. (2020)
    Despite its peculiar distribution, the biology of the southernmost bat species in the world, the Chilean myotis (Myotis chiloensis), has garnered little attention so far. The species has a north-south distribution of c. 2800 km, mostly on the eastern side of the Andes mountain range. Use of extended torpor occurs in the southernmost portion of the range, putting the species at risk of bat white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease responsible for massive population declines in North American bats. Here, we examined how geographic distance and topology would be reflected in the population structure of M. chiloensis along the majority of its range using a double digestion RAD-seq method. We sampled 66 individuals across the species range and discovered pronounced isolation-by-distance. Furthermore, and surprisingly, we found higher degrees of heterozygosity in the southernmost populations compared to the north. A coalescence analysis revealed that our populations may still not have reached secondary contact after the Last Glacial Maximum. As for the potential spread of pathogens, such as the fungus causing WNS, connectivity among populations was noticeably low, especially between the southern hibernatory populations in the Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego, and more northerly populations. This suggests the probability of geographic spread of the disease from the north through bat-to-bat contact to susceptible populations is low. The study presents a rare case of defined population structure in a bat species and warrants further research on the underlying factors contributing to this. See the graphical abstract here.
  • Meierhofer, Melissa; Lilley, Thomas M.; Ruokolainen, Lasse; Johnson, Joseph; Parratt, Steven; Morrison, Michael; Pearce, Brian; Evans, Jonah; Anttila, Jani (2021)
    Predicting the emergence and spread of infectious diseases is critical for the effective conservation of biodiversity. White-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging infectious disease of bats, has resulted in high mortality in eastern North America. Because the fungal causative agent Pseudogymnoascus destructans is constrained by temperature and humidity, spread dynamics may vary by geography. Environmental conditions in the southern part of the continent are different than the northeast, where disease dynamics are typically studied, making it difficult to predict how the disease will manifest. Herein, we modelled WNS pathogen spread in Texas based on cave densities and average dispersal distances of hosts, projecting these results out to 10 years. We parameterized a predictive model of WNS epidemiology and its effects on bat populations with observed cave environmental data. Our model suggests that bat populations in northern Texas will be more affected by WNS mortality than southern Texas. As such, we recommend prioritizing the preservation of large overwintering colonies of bats in north Texas through management actions. Our model illustrates that infectious disease spread and infectious disease severity can become uncoupled over a gradient of environmental variation and highlight the importance of understanding host, pathogen and environmental conditions across a breadth of environments.