Date of Thesis

12-17-2013

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Science

Department

Animal Behavior

First Advisor

DeeAnn Reeder

Abstract

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease that has caused the mass mortality of hibernating bat species. Since its first discovery in the winter of 2006-2007, an estimated five million bats or more have been killed. Although infection with Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd, the causative agent of WNS) does not always result in death, bats that survive Pd infection may experience fitness consequences. To understand the physiological consequences of WNS, I measured reproductive rates of free-ranging hibernating bat species of the Northeastern United States. In addition, captive little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus) bats that were infected by Pd but survived (¿WNS survivors¿) and uninfected bats were studied in order to understand the potential consequences (e.g., lower reproductive rates, decreased ability to heal wounds, degradation of wing tissue, and altered metabolic rates) of surviving WNS. No differences in reproductive rates were found between WNS-survivors and uninfected bats in either the field or in captivity. In addition, wound healing was not affected by Pd infection. However, wing tissue degradation was worse for little brown myotis 19 days post-hibernation, and mass specific metabolic rate (MSMR) was significantly higher for those infected with Pd 22 days post-hibernation. While it is clear that these consequences are a direct result of Pd infection, further research investigating the long-term consequences for both mothers and pups is necessary.

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