Month/Year of Graduation
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is currently the leading cause of death to North American bats and was first documented in the United States in 2006 on the East Coast. Infection with the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) causes bats to arise from hibernation with unnecessary frequency, leading to depletion of fat reserves that are imperative for extended periods of torpor. In October 2014, biologists surveyed the activity levels of bats at Fontenelle Forest in eastern Nebraska using acoustic detectors and determined what species of bats were present and their relative abundance before being exposed to WNS. By returning to the same region in October of 2020 and collecting a new sample of acoustic data, we were able to determine how bat populations in their pre-hibernation period have been affected since WNS arrived in eastern Nebraska. Our study shows that fall populations of northern long-eared bats have experienced drastic declines in this area since the arrival of WNS. This corroborates the findings of a study that observed reduced activity at the same site during the summer and echoes the results of surveys conducted throughout the eastern portion of the United States documenting population declines of northern long-eared bats due to WNS.
Bockart, Maggie, "The Effects of White-nose Syndrome on Cave-dwelling Bats During Their Pre-hibernation Season in Eastern Nebraska" (2020). Theses/Capstones/Creative Projects. 116.