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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, January 5, 2018

For the past decade, our native Bat populations have been decimated by the disease known as WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME(P.destructans).........."The virus evolved with bats in Europe and Asia which allowed for defenses to be built up in those bat populations".............Like so many exotIc/introduced diseases that have come to North America, this fungus has wrecked havoc on our native bats which have no natural antibodies to fight it off................"Infections occur during the hibernation period for bats, as the fungus only grows when temperatures range from 39-68 degrees".................Bats are a key insect control agent and the debilitation of this species causes stress to our forests and destruction of many of the plants that we humans rely on for food".................. U.S. Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture and U.of New Hampshire scientists have now discovered that White-Nose Syndrome can be killed off via application of Ultravilot light................The question is how do you get UltraViolet light into Bat caves to initiate the cure?

Lethal fungus that causes white-nose syndrome may have an Achilles' heel, study reveals

January 2, 2018, USDA Forest Service

The fungus behind white-nose syndrome, a disease that has ravaged bat populations in North America, may have an Achilles' heel: UV light. White-nose syndrome has spread steadily for the past decade and is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, known as P. destructans or Pd.

Scientists with the USDA Forest Service and the University of New Hampshire have found what may be an Achilles' heel in the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome: UV-light. White-nose syndrome has killed millions of bats in North America over the past decade. Credit: Daniel Lindner, USDA Forest Service

In the course of genomic analyses of P. destructans, a team of scientists from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of New Hampshire found that the fungus is highly sensitive to UV light. P. destructans can only infect  during hibernation because it has a strict temperature growth range of about 39-68 degrees Fahrenheit. However, treating bats for the disease during hibernation is challenging, so any weakness of the fungus may be good news to managers trying to develop treatment strategies.
In a study published on Jan. 2 in the journal Nature Communications titled "Extreme sensitivity to ultra-violet light in the  causing white-nose syndrome of bats," the research team suggests that P. destructans is likely a true fungal pathogen of bats that evolved alongside bat species in Europe and Asia for millions of years, allowing Eurasian bats to develop defenses against it. In the course of comparing P. destructans to six closely related non-pathogenic fungi, researchers discovered that P. destructans is unable to repair DNA damage caused by UV light, which could lead to novel treatments for the disease.


"This research has tremendous implications for bats and people," said Tony Ferguson, Director of the Forest Service's Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. "Bats play a key role in the health of forests as well as the production of food in the United States, and developing an array of tools with which we can treat bats for white-nose syndrome is important to preserving these very important species."
The research team generated annotated genomes for P. destructans as well as six non-pathogenic Pseudogymnoascus species in an effort to gain insight into the origins and adaptations of the fungal pathogen of WNS. Using comparative genomics, the research team noticed that P. destructans lacked a key DNA repair enzyme, prompting them to expose the fungi to DNA damaging agents, including different wavelengths and intensities of UV light. They found that a low dose exposure of UV-C light resulted in about 15 percent survival of P. destructans while a moderate dose exposure resulted in less than 1 percent survival. These values translate to only a few seconds of exposure from a hand-held UV-C light source.
"It is unusual that P. destructans appears to be unable to repair damage caused by UV-light," said Jon Palmer, a research botanist in the Northern Research Station's lab in Madison, Wis., and the lead author of the study. "Most organisms that have been found in the absence of light maintain the ability to repair DNA caused by UV light radiation. We are very hopeful that the fungus' extreme vulnerability to UV light can be exploited to manage the disease and save bats."
Research on potential treatment using UV light is under way. Daniel Lindner, a research plant pathologist with the Northern Research Station in Madison and the corresponding author on the study, is leading follow-up research to determine if UV-light can be used as a treatment for bats suffering from . The study will measure the survival of little brown bats during hibernation after being treated with UV-light compared to control groups. The researchers are also exploring whether there are any non-target effects by measuring changes in the bat skin microbiome (both fungal and bacterial communities). The study, which is funded by a grant from the, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Bats for the Future Fund began late last year.
More information: Jonathan M. Palmer et al. Extreme sensitivity to ultraviolet light in the fungal pathogen causing white-nose syndrome of bats, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02441-z 

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