Mission Areas

Ecosystems

Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 634
Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

River Environments

Protecting endangered species while managing economically important species is an ongoing natural
resource management challenge, especially in rivers. The USGS develops tools like biological/economic models to identify optimal strategies and economic and biological tradeoffs when adding nonnative species to rivers where endangered native species exist. This ongoing research will provide...

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Montane Environments

Mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive to climate change, and USGS is conducting montane research across the West to help resource managers plan now for the future. Coordination with scientists around the world has led to mountain research networks to expand our understanding of how these ecosystems respond to climate change.

Date published: June 26, 2018
Status: Active

Mangroves

USGS research on mangrove ecosystem biology includes mangrove regeneration, tree growth, sedimentation, and early seedling development. We are also interested in learning about how mangrove vegetation responds to and influences environmental stressors along the coast such as sea level rise.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Forests

Forests are a key component of a healthy ecosystem. Management of these resources is vital to their protection as a recreational resource as well as an environmental resource.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Deserts

Deserts are areas of the country which receive less than 10 in (250 mm) annual precipitation. In the United States, we have four distinct major deserts. Three are “hot deserts” because they receive precipitation in the summer months (Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan) and one “cold desert” because it receives precipitation during the winter (Great Basin).

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Coral Reefs

Coral reef ecosystems are declining worldwide, and in some places their survival is doubtful. This is both ecologically and economically troubling since coral reefs are the source of essential tourism revenue and local fisheries, as well as unique and rich ecosystems.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Coastlines

USGS research on coastlines is focused on understanding the natural conditions and the influence of human disturbances on species, populations, communities, habitats, and ecosystems.

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Ecosystem Ecology

Ecological research is largely concerned with the system levels beyond that of the organism. An ecological community is all the animal and plant populations occupying a given area. The community (biotic) and the nonliving environment function (abiotic) together as an ecological system or “ecosystem” which is governed by principles such as population dynamics, competition, and energy and...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Decision Analysis

USGS scientists work with decision makers and stakeholders to develop decision analytic frameworks to deliberately reduce the uncertainty that negatively affects the quality of decisions whether made once (i.e., Structured Decision Making) or repeatedly (i.e., Adaptive Management).

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

Forecasting

Informed forecasting of landscape structure, function, composition, and condition requires an understanding of the factors that control, constrain, and regulate ecosystem dynamics. USGS science is focused on understanding these driving factors using ecological research, long-term field studies and ecosystem modeling. Additionally, the USGS works with partners to provide alternative strategies...

Date published: June 25, 2018
Status: Active

System Understanding

The Environments Program responds to the needs and requirements of resource management bureaus within the Interior and other science and resource management organizations by designing, developing and conducting research required for the resource management and policy decisions made by a variety of stakeholders.

Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

Since the winter of 2006-07, millions of North American bats have died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). As of September 2015, bats with WNS were confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which infects the skin on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats and was ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Filter Total Items: 80
Date published: July 27, 2017

An Online Database for IHN Virus in Pacific Salmonid Fish: MEAP-IHNV

The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database

The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.

Date published: July 12, 2017

Development of a Multimetric Index for Integrated Assessment of Salt Marsh Ecosystem Condition

This dataset is comprised of eight files related to salt marsh monitoring data or measures of of human disturbance (i.e. human impacts in terms of physical, chemical, and land-use stressors) collected at 33 marsh study units (MSUs) in five National Parks within the NPS Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) along the NE coast of the US.

Date published: July 11, 2017

Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012

Germaine, S.S., Carter, S.K., Ignizio, D.A., and Freeman, A.T., 2017, Analysis of Land Disturbance and Pygmy Rabbit Occupancy Values Associated With Oil and Gas Extraction in Southwestern Wyoming, 2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7BR8QDD. DOI: 10.5066/F7BR8QDD

Date published: July 6, 2017

Life history attributes data for Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in Arizona 2013

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) occurs in the desert and plains grasslands of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Sonora, Mexico. This data was produced as part of the first intensive study of its life history and breeding ecology, providing baseline data and facilitating comparisons with other North American Grasshopper Sparrow...

Date published: July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

Date published: May 19, 2017

Early Estimates of Herbaceous Annual Cover in the Sagebrush Ecosystem

These data were developed to provide land managers and researchers with early-season, near-real-time predictions of spatially explicit percent cover predictions of herbaceous annual vegetation in the study area. Appropriate use of the data should be defined by the user; however, this data comes with several caveats.

Date published: April 27, 2017

North American Breeding Bird Survey Dataset 1966 - 2016, version 2016.0

The 1966-2016 North American Breeding Bird Survey dataset contains avian point count data for more than 700 North American bird taxa (species, races, and unidentified species groupings).  These data are collected annually during the breeding season, primarily June, along thousands of randomly established roadside survey routes in the United States and Canada.

Date published: March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Date published: March 22, 2017

DATA RELEASE - Southwestern Riparian Plant Trait Matrix, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 2014 - 2016

This dataset contains information on the physical traits and environmental tolerances of plant species occurring along the lower Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Data for the matrix were compiled from published scientific papers, unpublished reports, plant fact sheets, existing trait databases, regional floras, and plant guides.

Date published: March 14, 2017

Quantitative Analysis Using Structural Equation Modeling

USGS scientists have been involved for a number of years in the development and use of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). This methodology represents an approach to statistical modeling that focuses on the study of complex cause-effect hypotheses about the mechanisms operating in systems.

Date published: February 8, 2017

The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2015

This website presents population change information for more than 400 species of North American birds, as estimated from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Estimates of trend (interval-specific estimates of population change), annual indices of abundance, and maps of abundance and population change for these species are presented for a variety of regions.

Date published: February 8, 2017

North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) anuran detection data from the eastern and central United States (1994-2015)

The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) was a collaborative citizen science effort between the US Geological Survey (USGS) and 26 Partners (state agencies, universities, and nonprofits) for monitoring calling amphibian populations over much of the eastern and central United States.

Filter Total Items: 2,341
Year Published: 2018

Research and management priorities for Hawaiian forest birds

Hawai‘i's forest birds face a number of conservation challenges that, if unaddressed, will likely lead to the extinction of multiple species in the coming decades. Threats include habitat loss, invasive plants, non-native predators, and introduced diseases. Climate change is predicted to increase the geographic extent and intensity of these...

Paxton, Eben H.; Laut, Megan; Vetter, John P.; Kendall, Steve J.
Paxton, E. H., M. Laut, J. P. Vetter, and S. J. Kendall. 2018. Research and management priorities for Hawaiian forest birds. Condor 120:557–565.

Year Published: 2018

Rapid departure of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) following large-scale nest failure

Nest failure of most pairs of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) at Falkner Island, Connecticut, in 2002-2003 (due mainly to predation by Black-crowned Night-herons [Nycticorax nycticorax]) was followed by the rapid departure of many of the failed individuals in both years. Nine failed pairs (16.7%) stayed while 40 (74.1%) of 54 unsuccessful pairs...

Spendelow, Jeffrey A.; Eichenwald, Adam J.
Spendelow, J. A. and Eichenwald, A. J., 2018, Rapid departure of Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii) following large-scale nest failure: Wilson Journal of Ornithology, v. 130, no. 2, p. 485-492. https://doi.org/10.1676/17-017.1

Year Published: 2018

Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks

The availability of shelter to avoid predation and ameliorate physiologically stressful conditions is often important to the survival of avian hatchlings. However, as changes in habitat availability force birds to nest in nontraditional locations, young must quickly adapt to using novel sources of shelter. Two Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) colonies...

McGowan, Peter C.; Reintsma, Kaitlyn; Sullivan, Jeffery D.; DeVoss, Katie P.; Wall, Jennifer L.; Zimnik, Mia D.; Callahan, Carl R.; Schultz, Bill; Prosser, Diann J.
McGowan, P. C., Reinstma, K. M., Sullivan, J. D., DeVoss, K. P., Wall, J. L., Zimnik, M. D., Callahan, C. R., Schultz, B., and Prosser, D. J., 2018, Use of Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) burrows as shelter by Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) chicks: Waterbirds, v. 41, no. 2, p. 179-182. https://doi.org/10.1675/063.041.0210

Year Published: 2018

Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: A new framework and management tool

Human activities on floodplains have severely disrupted the regeneration of foundation riparian shrub and tree species of the Salicaceae family (Populus and Salix spp.) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Restoration ecologists initially tackled this problem from a terrestrial perspective that emphasized planting....

Gonzalez, Eduardo; Martinez-Fernandez, Vanesa; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Sher, Anna A.; Henry, Annie L.; Garofano-Gomez, Virginia; Corenblit, Dov
Gonzalez, E., V. Martinez-Fernandez, P.B. Shafroth, A.A. Sher, A.L. Henry, V. Garofano-Gomez, and D. Corenblit. 2018. Regeneration of Salicaceae riparian forests in the Northern Hemisphere: a new framework and management tool. Journal of Environmental Management 218:374-387.

Year Published: 2018

Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity

Context High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of...

van Toor, Mariëlle L.; Kranstauber, Bart; Newman, Scott H.; Prosser, Diann J.; Takekawa, John Y.; Technitis, Georgios; Weibel, Robert; Wikelski, Martin; Safi, Kamran
van Toor, M. L., Kranstauber, B., Newman, S. H., Prosser, D. J., Takekawa, J. Y., Technitis, G., Weibel, R., Wikelski, M., and Safi, K., 2018, Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic landscape connectivity: Landscape Ecology, v. 33, no. 6, p. 879-893.

Year Published: 2018

Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy

Given the urgent need to raise public awareness on biodiversity issues, we review the effectiveness of “ecosystem services” as a frame for promoting biodiversity conservation. Since its inception as a communications tool in the 1970s, the concept of ecosystem services has become pervasive in biodiversity policy. While the goal of securing...

Bekessy, Sarah A.; Runge, Michael C.; Kusmanoff, Alex; Keith, David A.; Wintle, Brendan A.
Bekessy, S. A., Runge, M. C., Kusmanoff, A. M., Keith, D. A., and Wintle, B. A., 2018, Ask not what nature can do for you: A critique of ecosystem services as a communication strategy: Biological Conservation, v. 224, p. 71-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.05.017

Year Published: 2018

Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in Willow Flycatchers

Changes in habitat quality, including those caused by extreme events like droughts and floods, could alter costs and benefits of territoriality and thereby the prevalence and reproductive consequences for individuals capable of breeding that do not do so (floaters). We studied floating behavior in a population of Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (...

Theimer, Tad; Sogge, Mark K.; Cardinal, Suzanne N.; Durst, Scott L.; Paxton, Eben H.
Theimer, T. C., M. K. Sogge, S. N. Cardinal, S. L. Durst, and E. H. Paxton. 2018. Extreme drought alters frequency and reproductive success of floaters in willow flycatchers. Auk 135:647–656.

Year Published: 2018

Chapter 4: Northern spotted owl habitat and populations: Status and threats

The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990 (USFWS 1990). Providing adequate amounts of suitable forest cover to sustain the subspecies was a major component of the first recovery plan for northern spotted owls (USFWS 1992) and a driver in the basic reserve design and old-...

Lesmeister, Damon B.; Davis, Ramond J; Singleton, Peter H; Wiens, David
Lesmeister, D.B., Davis, R.J., Singleton, P.H., Wiens, J.D., 2018, Chapter 4. Northern Spotted Owl- Status of Populations and Habitats In Spies, T.A., Stine, P., Gravenmier, R., Long, J., Reilly, M., eds., Synthesis of Science to Inform Land Management within the Northwest Forest Plan Area: PNW-GTR-966 Vol. 1, Portland, OR, USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, 56 pp.

Year Published: 2018

Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation

Lead (Pb) exposure in wildlife is a widespread management and conservation concern. Quantitative determination of Pb concentrations in wildlife tissues is the foundation for estimating exposure and risk. Development of low‐cost, portable instruments has improved access and cost‐effectiveness of determining Pb concentrations in blood samples, while...

Herring, Garth; Eagles-Smith, Collin A.; Bedrosian, Bryan; Craighead, Derek; Domenech, Robert; Langner, Heiko W.; Parish, Chris N.; Shreading, Adam; Welch, Alacia; Wolstenholme, Rachel
Herring, G., Eagles-Smith, C.A., Bedrosian, B., Craighead, D., Domenech, R., Langner, H.W., Parish, C., Shreading, A., Welch, A., Wolstenholme, R., 2018, Critically assessing the utility of portable lead analyzers for wildlife conservation: Wildlife Society Bulletin, p. online, https://doi.org/10.1002/wsb.892.

Year Published: 2018

The utility of point count surveys to predict wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities: An example focused on golden eagles

Wind energy development is rapidly expanding in North America, often accompanied by requirements to survey potential facility locations for existing wildlife. Within the USA, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are among the most high-profile species of birds that are at risk from wind turbines. To minimize golden eagle fatalities in areas...

Sur, Maitreyi; Belthoff, James R.; Bjerre, Emily R.; Millsap, Brian A.; Katzner, Todd
Sur, M., Belthoff, J.R., Bjerre, E.R., Millsap, B.A., Katzner, T.E., 2018, The utility of point count surveys to predict wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities- An example focused on golden eagles: Ecological Indicators, v. 88, p. 126-133, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.01.024.

Year Published: 2018

Adaptive population divergence and directional gene flow across steep elevational gradients in a climate‐sensitive mammal

The American pika is a thermally sensitive, alpine lagomorph species. Recent climate-associated population extirpations and genetic signatures of reduced population sizes range-wide indicate the viability of this species is sensitive to climate change. To test for potential adaptive responses to climate stress, we sampled pikas along two...

Waterhouse, Matthew D.; Erb, Liesl P.; Beever, Erik; Russello, Michael A.
Waterhouse, M.D., L.P. Erb, E.A. Beever, and M.A. Russello. 2018. Adaptive population divergence and directional gene flow across steep elevational gradients in a climate-sensitive mammal. Molecular Ecology 27(11): 2512-2528.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures

Recent interest in the potential effects of climate change has prompted studies of air temperature and precipitation associations with water temperatures in rivers and streams. We examined associations between summer surface water temperatures and both air temperature and discharge for 5 reaches of the Upper Mississippi River during 1994–2011....

Gray, Brian R.; Robertson, Dale M.; Rogala, James T.
Gray, B.R., Robertson, D.M., Rogala, J.T. 2018. Effects of air temperature and discharge on Upper Mississippi River summer water temperatures. River Research and Applications. 10 pgs. DOI: 10.1002/rra.3278.

Filter Total Items: 552
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Electrofishing Basket
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Electrofishing Basket

This image shows sea lamprey in their larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

...
Blue SPV bait
December 31, 2017

Blue SPV bait

This image shows the blue version of sylvatic plague vaccine bait for prairie dogs. 

Prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to succumb to a deadly disease called sylvatic plague after they ingest peanut-butter-flavored bait that contains a vaccine against the disease.

In an effort to increase populations of endangered black-footed ferrets and conserve the

...
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 2

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
USGS
December 31, 2017

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
Commercial poultry
December 31, 2017

Commercial poultry

Some avian influenza, or bird flu, viruses that are able to enter North America from other continents through migrating birds can be deadly to poultry and can infect waterfowl populations.

Attribution: Ecosystems
Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae in Hand

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

...
Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3
December 31, 2017

Corallimorph infestation on coral reef 3

Coral reefs are prone to phase shifts where they quickly transition from coral-dominated to a uniformity of other organisms, typically algae. The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific is a unique case where a transition from corals to corallimorphs occurred. Corallimorphs are a type of invasive

...
USGS
December 31, 2017

California myotis (Myotis californicus) Call

Bats produce a variety of vocalizations that are used for navigation, feeding, and social communication. Most vocalizations are pitched well above the range of human hearing and are referred to as ultrasonic. These calls are often known as echolocation calls since bats use the echoes produced when a sound bounces off a bug or a building to determine what is in the area. 

...
A desmid alga is bright red and green photographed in UV light
December 31, 2017

This single-celled alga is a natural ornament

It looks like a holiday ornament, but this lovely object is a single-celled freshwater alga from the desmid family, found in the marshes of Florida’s Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. USGS biologist Barry Rosen photographed it at 200x magnification using ultraviolent light and a fluorescence microscope. Desmids range in size from under 10 microns—

...
Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background
December 31, 2017

Sea Lamprey Larvae on White Background

This image shows a sea lamprey in its larvae phase.

Slower sea lamprey growth rates during the larval phase of development may increase the odds of sea lampreys becoming male, according to a USGS study. Sea lampreys are an invasive, parasitic species of fish damaging the Great Lakes.

...
Bats hibernating in cave
December 31, 2017

Bats hibernating in cave

Bats hibernating in a cave. 

Attribution: Ecosystems
Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a

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Filter Total Items: 335
Date published: March 23, 2018

Potential Variability in Population-Level Response of Ponderosa Pine to Climate Change

Models of future species distributions are regularly fit at the species level, yet a species’ response to environmental change is not always uniform across its distribution.

Date published: March 20, 2018

Altering Sagebrush Landscapes with Fuel Breaks to Save Them from Wildfire

Linear fuel breaks have long been used to help suppress fire in the Great Basin, and thousands of miles of new fuel breaks may be constructed in coming years to protect sagebrush ecosystems, including greater sage-grouse habitat.

Date published: March 19, 2018

New genetic test detects manatees' recent presence in fresh or saltwater

Environmental DNA picks up traces of the elusive mammals’ saliva, skin, waste, or exhaled breaths.

 

Date published: March 9, 2018

Raptor Interactions with Wind Energy: Case Studies from Around the

Attempts to measure and mitigate the effects of wind turbines on wildlife have been an integral part of wind energy development.

Date published: March 9, 2018

Fire and Grazing Influence Site Resistance to Cheatgrass Invasion

Shrubs, bunchgrasses, and biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are believed to contribute to site resistance to plant invasions. 

Date published: March 9, 2018

Modeling Potential Beaver Habitat for Restoring Riparian Ecosystems

Beaver have the potential to restore riparian ecosystems and offset potential effects of climate change by modulating streamflow through dam-building and subsequent water storage.

Date published: March 2, 2018

Greater Sage-Grouse Science (2015-2017): Synthesis and Potential Management Implications

At the request of the BLM, the USGS worked with federal and state agency partners to develop a report that synthesizes the scientific literature published since records of decision were completed for 2015 BLM/USDA Forest Service land use plan amendments for greater sage-grouse, and provides potential management implications of the science.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Waterbirds at Risk in the Chesapeake Bay

Scientists investigate the impacts of shoreline armoring

Date published: February 22, 2018

USGS and NASA Team Up to Help Scientists Study the “Social Networks” of Wildlife

In the future of wildlife tracking, sea otters have their own social network.

Date published: February 1, 2018

Polar Bears Film Their Own Sea Ice World

In June of 2014, the USGS released the first-ever polar bear point-of-view footage, offering a never-seen-before perspective from the top Arctic predator.

Date published: January 19, 2018

Scientists, volunteers rescue about 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles

Florida's second-largest turtle rescue of 21st century is “exhausting, inspiring,” USGS biologist says

Date published: January 16, 2018

New Information on Bat Fungus Improves Detection of Deadly Disease

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease of hibernating bats, spreads rapidly by way of bats, then establishes and persists in soil and on walls of underground hibernation sites, according to a study published today.