Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards $1.4 Million in Grants for Work on Deadly Bat Disease: $2 Million Available in Second Round

March 6, 2014

Contacts:

Jeremy Coleman, 413-253-8223
Catherine Hibbard, 413-253-8569



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today grant awards totaling $ 1.4 million for nine projects (see below) addressing federal research and response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that affects hibernating bats.

The federal grants are the first round of WNS research funding planned for this year. A second-round request for proposals is currently open to all applicants for up to an additional $2 million. Information about the second round of funding is on www.grants.gov.

Funded projects include studies to: advance disease detection and surveillance; explore microbial, chemical and environmental methods for managing the fungus that causes the disease, Pseudogymnoascus destructans; improve our understanding of affected bat populations; test plans for a novel bat monitoring program; and develop outreach tools that support bat management and conservation.

“These projects build on an impressive body of knowledge built over seven years of investigating white-nose syndrome. We have made great progress, and there are promising new areas of research to pursue,” said Wendi Weber, co-chair of the White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee and Service Northeast Regional Director. “With this first round of funding we are excited to leverage resources with our federal partners in the collaborative response to this devastating disease.”

“Since 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has provided more than $13 million to university and federal researchers, state agencies and others for WNS research and support,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “To date, this funding has resulted in major accomplishments such as improved methods for detecting P. destructans; potential tools to slow disease spread and the development of a national bat population monitoring program,”

Funding for the grants was through the Service’s Endangered Species Recovery and Science Application programs. A Service WNS review panel evaluated the proposals and chose to fund projects that best met priorities established by interagency WNS working groups.

First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, WNS spread rapidly through the eastern U.S. and Canada, and continues to spread. It has been confirmed in 23 states and five provinces.

The Service leads a cooperative effort with federal and state agencies, tribes, researchers, universities and other non-government organizations to research and manage WNS. In addition to developing science-based protocols and guidance for land management agencies and other partners to minimize the spread of WNS, the Service has funded many research projects to support and assess management recommendations and improve basic understanding of the dynamics of the disease.

Additional information about WNS, the international disease investigation and research is on the national WNS website at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We are working to engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. Learn more about the Endangered Species Program at: www.fws.gov/endangered/.

Excellence in science and its application to natural resource decision-making is the hallmark of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The goal of Science Applications is to strengthen the Service's tradition of scientific excellence in the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitat. Learn more about Science Applications at http://www.fws.gov/science/

 

2014 White-Nose Syndrome Grant Recipients, Round 1

 

Implementation and Summer Pilot of the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat)

Laura Ellison, U.S. Geological Survey - Fort Collins (Colorado) Science Center; Susan Loeb; Kevin Castle and Rita Dixon (Idaho)

 

Expanded Surveillance for the Detection of Pseudogymnoascus destructans Distribution and Spread of WNS in the Continental United States

Anne Ballmann, U.S. Geological Survey - National Wildlife Health Center (Madison, Wisconsin); David Blehert and Robin Russell

 

Management of Bat White-Nose Syndrome through Protective Skin Fungi and Activation of Host Immune Response

David S. Blehert, U.S. Geological Survey – National Wildlife Health Center (Madison, Wisconsin) and Jeff Lorch

 

Management of Bat White-Nose Syndrome by Suppression of Pathogenic Environmental Reservoirs

David S. Blehert, U.S. Geological Survey – National Wildlife Health Center (Madison, Wisconsin) and Jeff Lorch

 

Oral Vaccines and Delivery Methods for Controlling Disease in Bats

Tonie E. Rocke, U.S. Geological Survey - National Wildlife Health Center (Madison, Wisconsin); David Blehert; Jorge Osorio and Bruce Klein

 

Survival and Recruitment in Affected Areas, Including Environmental or Behavioral Factors

Susan Loeb, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station (Clemson, South Carolina); Roger Perry and Sybill Amelon

 

Using Genomics and Transcriptomics to Understand and Combat WNS: Determining and targeting virulence factors in Pseudogymnoascus destructans

Daniel L. Lindner, US Forest Service, Center for Forest Mycology Research (CFMR)

Northern Research Station (Madison, Wisconsin)

 

Testing Cleaning and Disinfection Products for Efficacy against Pseudogymnoascus destructans

Kevin Castle, National Park Service WASO-Biological Resource Management Division (Fort Collins, Colorado) and Jessie Glaeser

 

Development of Educational Tools to Inform and Engage the Public in Bat Conservation and White-Nose Syndrome Efforts (Project Edubat)

Cynthia Sandeno, U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region (West Virginia), Carol Zokaites and Gail Moede Rogall

FWS


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