Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bat-Killing Fungus Likely Invaded from Europe

The fungus that causes a disease that is devastating bats in eastern North America originated in Europe, indicates new research that found isolates of the fungus from both continents could kill little brown bats in a laboratory.

"In my view, I think we have shown pretty reasonable evidence that this is an invasive species, and the most likely explanation is people brought it here," said study researcher Craig Willis, an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg, referring to the fungus, Geomyces destructans. "It means it is our fault and, to me, that suggests we have an obligation to invest in understanding the problem and at least trying to mitigate the damage." 

An invader
The bat-killing disease, initially dubbed white-nose syndrome for the powderlike fungal growth that appeared on the hibernating bats' snouts, was first documented in New York in 2006. Later, researchers found the fungus associated with it, G. destructans, across much of Europe.

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