Image source: Smithsonian Institution

You may recall prior Lifelines posts discussing the devastating effects of white nose syndrome (WNS) in bats. WNS, Pseudogymnoascus destructans is a fungus responsible for the deaths of millions of North American bats over the last ten years. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, Dr. Craig Willis examined the effects of repeated arousals from hibernation induced by the fungal infection. Data from this new study provides evidence that infected animals do have higher metabolisms while hibernating than non-infected animals. In addition, infected animals lose more water through evaporation. Both of these effects are thought to contribute to the demise of infected bats. The hope now is to use this knowledge to design treatments for infected bats.