Geographical and geological data from caves and mines infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) before September 2009 in the eastern United States

Journal of Cave and Karst Studies
By:  and 

Links

Abstract

Since 2006, a white fungus named Geomyces destructans has been observed on the muzzles, noses, ears, and (or) wings of bats in the eastern United States, and bat colonies that are infected with this fungus have experienced dramatic incidences of mortality. Although it is not exactly certain how and why these bats are dying, this condition has been named white-nose syndrome (WNS). WNS appears to have spread from an initial infection site at a cave that is connected to a commercial cave in New York, and by the end of August 2009 was identified in at least 74 other sites in the eastern United States. Although detailed geographical and geological data are limited, a review of the available data shows that sites infected with WNS before September 2009 include both natural caves and mines. These infected sites extend from New Hampshire to Virginia, and known site elevations range from 84 to 2693 feet above sea level. In terms of geological setting, the infected sites include sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks of ages ranging from Precambrian to Jurassic. However, by the end of August 2009, no infected sites had been identified in strata of Mississippian, Cretaceous, or Triassic age. Meteorological data are sparse, but most of the recorded air temperatures in the known WNS-infected caves and mines range from 0 to 13.9 degrees C, and humidity measurements range from 68 to 100 percent. Although it is not certain which environmental parameters are important for WNS, it is hoped that the geographical and geological information presented in this paper will inform and clarify some of the debate about WNS, lead to greater understanding of the environmental parameters associated with WNS, and highlight the paucity of scientific data from caves in the eastern United States.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Geographical and geological data from caves and mines infected with white-nose syndrome (WNS) before September 2009 in the eastern United States
Series title Journal of Cave and Karst Studies
DOI 10.4311/jcks2010es0162
Volume 73
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher National Speleological Society
Publisher location http://www.caves.org
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 33 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Cave and Karst Studies
First page 125
Last page 157
Country United States