Bats on the Brink

USDA Forest Service researchers are monitoring the effects of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease from Eurasia that has decimated cave-hibernating bats across the U.S. since its arrival in 2006. “The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome grows on bats in the wintertime. It causes them to wake up during their hibernation and burn their fat reserves,”…  More 

Tri-colored bats & white-nose syndrome

The only mammal that truly flies, bats are celebrated for many reasons. Including their looks. “Tri-colored bats are the cutest little things,” says Susan Loeb of the USDA Forest Service. “They’re tiny – they weigh less than a quarter of an ounce. And each one of their hairs has three colors on it: yellow, black,…  More 

One Treatment Does Not Fit All Sizes

Bats are important components of healthy forests and provide critical ecological services across numerous different ecosystems. For decades, bat populations throughout the southern U.S. have been declining due to habitat disturbance and loss. USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb contributed to two recent publications to address this issue, suggesting ways to improve bat management practices…  More 

Which Bat Is That? The Smell Will Tell

For the first time, people can distinguish one bat species from another by smell alone. Scientists from the USDA Forest Service and Arkansas State University found that a new, portable electronic nose (e-nose) device is capable of distinguishing between bat species by their smells. This study is part of a larger effort to help bats…  More 

Bat Survival in Arkansas Mines

White-nose syndrome has been spreading through U.S. bat populations since 2006 and has caused mass die-offs in various regions of the country. The syndrome is caused by Pd (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), a fungus that invades the skin of bats while they hibernate. White-nose syndrome (WNS) symptoms include dehydration and irritation. These symptoms awake the bats frequently…  More 

Can Southeastern Bats and Rock Climbers Share Cliffs?

“Researchers haven’t really studied cliffs as foraging areas for bats,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb. “When so little is known about that habitat, it can be hard to gauge the impacts of different uses or management plans.” Rapid growth in technical climbing has put rock climbers in the same spots as bats. How…  More 

Seminole Bats on the Move

Over the past 48 years, Seminole bats (Lasiurus seminolus) have drastically expanded their range. “The northern edge of their summer range has expanded by 323 miles,” says Roger Perry, a USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. “That’s approximately 7 miles a year since 1970.” The western range is also expanding, possibly because forests are replacing…  More 

E-Noses Detect Disease in Plants, Animals & Humans

The fragrance of a rose comes from volatile organic compounds. Living plants, animals, humans, and even inanimate objects emit complex mixtures of VOCs. VOC mixtures are so distinctive that new words are used to describe them: volatilome, breathprint, and smellprint. “There are over 2,000 VOCs in a person’s breath,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Dan…  More 

SRS Researcher Receives Grant to Study White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed more than six million bats over the past decade. WNS is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Studies show that bats eat enough insect pests to save the U.S. corn industry more than $1 billion a year in crop damage and pesticide costs, and more than $3 billion per…  More 

Managing Forests to Conserve Bat Populations Affected by White-Nose Syndrome

In March 2016, scientists found bats infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease that’s killed millions of North American bats across the eastern United States, in Washington state, over 1,000 miles from the nearest confirmed infection site in eastern Oklahoma. Because most bat species in the U.S. eat phenomenal numbers of insects, bats are important to agriculture and to forests and…  More