WNS Data Management Coordination

Science Center Objects

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in the northeastern U.S. This previously unrecognized disease has spread very rapidly since its discovery in January 2007 and poses a considerable threat to hibernating bats throughout North America. 

As WNS spreads, the challenges for understanding and managing the disease continue to increase. In June 2008, an effort to formalize a coordinated approach for addressing WNS was initiated among the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, and State wildlife management agencies. A national plan for assisting states, Federal agencies, and tribes in managing WNS in bats was developed. This plan provides a framework that outlines the actions necessary to coordinate Federal and State efforts and identifies actions in support of State, Federal, tribal, and partner WNS management efforts. Each of seven elements identified in the plan would be administered by a working group responsible for the coordination of activities within that element.

Image: Hibernating Bats with White-nose Syndrome

Bats showing signs of infections with Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. Public domain.

The purpose of one such working group, the Data and Technical Information Management working group, is to provide a mechanism for making WNS information accessible in a timely fashion to all entities involved with the investigation and management of WNS. The primary activities of this working group are to disseminate information about WNS by providing access to common scientific and technical information in a partner-based data system; work with States to create data standards that will allow inter-operability with existing WNS data sets; provide researchers and wildlife managers with real-time access to WNS data and other critical information; and ultimately, integrate WNS data from State and Federal agencies and others into a more structured national database, thereby allowing analysis to be conducted on a continental basis.