Conference Name: North American Symposium on Bat Research (NASBR)
Alynn Martin, Amy Russell, Maarten Vonhof
Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an epidemic affecting hibernating bats across eastern North America. It is generally associated with the presence of a white, soil dwelling fungus, Geomyces destructans, which usually grows on the nose, ears, and patagial membranes of infected individuals. Since its discovery in New York in 2006, WNS has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of bat deaths. Mortality rates of affected individuals have reached 90-100% in some hibernacula. Many of the studies regarding WNS focus on little brown myotis, Myotis lucifugus, which has experienced an 87% decline through 2010 in states including New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Though attention has focused on M. lucifugus, at least five other species (Perimyotis subflavus, M. septentrionalis, Eptesicus fuscus, M. leibii, and M. sodalis) have also been significantly affected. Tri-colored bats, Perimyotis subflavus, have experienced an 85% decline in the northeastern states, yet little work has been done involving P. subflavus and the genetic data available for this species is lacking. Questions exist for this species regarding the accuracy of roost counts and the contribution of unsurveyed hibernacula to population counts, as well as the level of gene flow among colonies and potential patterns of spread of G. destructans that may result from likely bat-to-bat transfer. We present phylogeographic analyses of mitochondrial sequence data from P. subflavus, focusing on patterns of population genetic structure and estimates of effective population size.