Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Dr. Peter Chung, email@example.com
Dr. Andrew George, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Kristopher Mijares, email@example.com
White Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a fungal infection in bats caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Successfully identifying hibernacula infected with WNS is essential to help control and regulate the spread of WNS. Assessing the presence of WNS in bat hibernacula is usually done by visually confirming Pd on hibernating bats within infected hibernacula. This can be problematic because most visual confirmation occurs during the winter when bat populations are at their peak within hibernacula. When surveys are conducted in the winter, there is an increased chance of disturbing bats. One alternative method to visually confirming WNS on bats in the winter is to test the hibernaculum environment for Pd DNA in the summer. This study compared a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) assay for Pd DNA to previous visual surveys for WNS within six bat hibernacula in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas. Six quadrant were identified and sampled within each hibernaculum. Samples were taken, DNA was extracted, and PCR was performed to DNA specific to Pd. Agarose gel electrophoresis was utilized to verify if there was Pd DNA present in the amplified PCR product. In addition, this study created a WNS predictive model to determine the probability of WNS presence Missouri counties. This study found that Pd DNA was present in all hibernacula previously described as WNS positive by visual confirmation, in addition, this study found that one hibernaculum was misidentified as WNS negative. This study also predicted the probability that Missouri counties had WNS. The WNS predictive model was also tested in-field at seven different hibernacula in six different counties with 85% success.
Miller, Samuel, "UTILIZING MOLECULAR AND STATISTICAL MODELING METHODS TO ENHANCE WHITE NOSE SYNDROME DETECTION IN BAT HIBERNACULA" (2018). Electronic Thesis Collection. 268.