Browsing by Subject "white-nose syndrome"

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  • Lilley, Thomas M.; Wilson, Ian W.; Field, Kenneth A.; Reeder, DeeAnn M.; Vodzak, Megan E.; Turner, Gregory G.; Kurta, Allen; Blomberg, Anna S.; Hoff, Samantha; Herzog, Carl; Sewall, Brent J.; Paterson, Steve (2020)
    Novel pathogens can cause massive declines in populations, and even extirpation of hosts. But disease can also act as a selective pressure on survivors, driving the evolution of resistance or tolerance. Bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) is a rapidly spreading wildlife disease in North America. The fungus causing the disease invades skin tissues of hibernating bats, resulting in disruption of hibernation behavior, premature energy depletion, and subsequent death. We used whole-genome sequencing to investigate changes in allele frequencies within a population of Myotis lucifugus in eastern North America to search for genetic resistance to WNS. Our results show low F-ST values within the population across time, i.e., prior to WNS (Pre-WNS) compared to the population that has survived WNS (Post-WNS). However, when dividing the population with a geographical cut-off between the states of Pennsylvania and New York, a sharp increase in values on scaffold GL429776 is evident in the Post-WNS samples. Genes present in the diverged area are associated with thermoregulation and promotion of brown fat production. Thus, although WNS may not have subjected the entire M. lucifugus population to selective pressure, it may have selected for specific alleles in Pennsylvania through decreased gene flow within the population. However, the persistence of remnant sub-populations in the aftermath of WNS is likely due to multiple factors in bat life history.
  • 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.