Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards 1.8 Million Dollars in Grants for Work on Deadly Bat Disease

June 18, 2014

Contacts:

Jeremy Coleman, 413-253-8223

Catherine Hibbard, 413-253-8569



Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced  $1.8 million in grants for the research and management of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal infection that has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America since it was first documented in New York in the winter of 2006-2007.

Funding was granted to eight projects at universities in New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. Projects include studies to better understand bat immune responses to WNS, investigations into methods to control the disease, and ways to examine the molecular infrastructure of the fungus that causes WNS (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), and other cave-dwelling fungi.

“Bats are fascinating animals that are vital for a healthy environment. We are hopeful that these investments into research will get us closer to getting the upper hand on this devastating disease,” said Wendi Weber, co-chair of the White-Nose Syndrome Executive Committee and Service Northeast Regional Director.

Since 2008, the Service has granted more than $17.5 million to institutions and federal and state agencies for WNS research and response. This year’s grants are the second round of WNS research funding awarded by the Service. $1.4 million was awarded to federal agencies that provided matching funds for research and response to the disease.  Another $1.5 million is currently available for state wildlife agencies on www.grants.gov.

“Scientists from around the world are working together to understand this devastating disease, and to develop the tools to manage WNS and conserve our native bats,” said Dr. Jeremy Coleman, the Service’s national WNS coordinator. “Findings from past research have led to improved methods for detecting P. destructans; development of potential tools to slow disease spread and treat infected bats, and the development of a national bat population monitoring program.”

Funding for the grants was provided through the Service’s Endangered Species Recovery and Science Applications programs.

Additional information about WNS is available at www.whitenosesyndrome.org/. Connect with our white-nose syndrome Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwswns, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfws_wns and download photos from our Flickr page at www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq/collections/72157626455036388/.

 

2014 White-Nose Syndrome Grant Recipients, Round 2

 

Investigators

Title

Funding amount

Marianne S. Moore,

Department of Ecology and Evolution,

Stony Brook (NY) University; Lilliana Davalos, Stony Brook U.; Amy Russell, Grand Valley University (MI)

Uncovering skin immune proteins as predictors of resistance against WNS

$318,455

 

 

 

Hazel A. Barton, Department of Biology,

University of Akron (OH)

Factors of the innate immune response that protect Virginia big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) from infection by Pseudogymnoascus Destructans, the agent of white-nose syndrome

$94,407

Tony L. Goldberg, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin –Madison; David  Blehert, U.S. Geological Survey Wildlife Health Center (WI)

Characterization of bat skin microbiomes during progression of white-nose syndrome to inform

biologic interventions

$60,938

Jason Slot, Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University; Hannah Reynolds, OSU; Hazel Barton, U. of Akron; DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell U.; Tea Meulia, OSU

The potential of mycoviruses for biocontrol of white-nose syndrome of bats

$223,009

Maarten J. Vonhof,  Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies Program, Western Michigan

University; Timothy Carter, Ball State University (IN); Robert Eversole, WMU; Kevin Keel, University of California, Davis

Additional testing of the efficacy of chitosan to limit the growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans on experimentally-infected bats

$223,602

DeeAnn Reeder, Department of Biology, Bucknell University (PA); Ken Field (Bucknell U.)

Physiological changes in remnant bat populations in WNS-affected areas

$349,230

Nancy P. Keller, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Identification and characterization of Pseudogymnoascus destructans immunomodulatory secondary metabolites

$302,398

Jeffrey Foster, University of New Hampshire; Kevin Drees, UNH; Daniel Lindner, USDA Northern Research Station (WI); Jon Palmer, USDA NRS

 

Genomic differences between Pseudogymnoascus destructans and closely-related fungi from bat
hibernacula: insights into fungal pathogenicity, physiology, and ecology

$260,746

 

Total

$1,832,785

 


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.