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New funding supports search for solutions to white-nose syndrome
Date:8/6/2014

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa., Aug. 6, 2014 Two U.S. Forest Service research teams recently received more than $97,000 in grants from Bat Conservation International (BCI) and the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to further the fight against White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that has killed at least 5.7 million bats in North America in the past 8 years.

"We are very honored that Bat Conservation International selected these projects for grant funding. The grants will further the Forest Service's ongoing work to understand how White Nose Syndrome spreads; the impacts it is having on bat populations; and, the development of leading-edge techniques to inhibit the spread of the fungus." said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. "We have come a long way since we first encountered White-Nose Syndrome, in large part due to the cooperation among many government agencies, universities and non-government organizations."

The two projects are aimed at identifying and developing tools to control Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd), the invasive fungus that causes WNS. Each explores a different approach to containing the impact of the deadly disease that has affected hibernating bats, including the federally-listed endangered Indiana bat and gray bat. First reported in New York state in 2006, this disease has spread to 25 states and 5 Canadian provinces. Bats are a primary predator of vast numbers of insect pests that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually.

"These research projects are developing potentially powerful tools in the fight against WNS and we are pleased to be able to support them," said Katie Gillies, Director, Imperiled Species Program at Bat Conservation International. "We hope the results from this work are pivotal in controlling the fungus that causes WNS."

Both projects are led by scientists with the Forest Service's Northern Rese
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Contact: Jane Hodgins
jmhodgins@fs.fed.us
651-649-5281
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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