January 13, 2010


Europe's Bats Resist Fungal Scourge of North America

The same fungus that has devastated bat colonies in the northeastern United States has been identified for the first time in Europe—in a healthy bat.

"The astonishing thing is that [the fungus] affects North American bats so devastatingly, but that European bats can get along with it," says Christian Voigt, a bat physiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin.

. . . Now the challenge is to figure out why most European bats are not infected and why those that are remain healthy—and whether that knowledge can be used to help ailing bat populations in the United States.

Science - www.sciencemag.org
08 January 2010
E Stokstad
Photo credit: P Verdeyroux/Emerging Infectious Diseases

Cited Journal Articles

New Research Findings Can Improve Avian Flu Surveillance Programs

Genetic analyses of avian influenza in wild birds can help pinpoint likely carrier species and geographic hot spots where Eurasian viruses would be most likely to enter North America, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research.

Persistence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 (HPAI H5N1) virus in Eurasia and Africa, and concerns that the virus might be transported among continents by migratory birds has resulted in global surveillance programs. In the United States, state and federal agencies tested more than 326,000 wild bird samples from across the country from 2005 to 2008.

The new work by USGS has nationwide importance because it offers a method for avian influenza surveillance programs to target their efforts for the right species and in the best locations.

USGS Newsroom - www.usgs.gov/newsroom
12 January 2010

More Flu News

Frigid Gulf water creating fish kills

Salt water fish have taken a big hit from the recent cold spell. Dozens of fish kills have been reported to the state fish and wildlife commission, from all over the state.

Authorities say the damage is scattered, and impossible to measure.

. . . "The other thing about the fish kill is that the cold weather can make them more susceptible to disease, so we may not see all of the full affects now," FWC's Segelson said.

My Fox Tampa Bay - www.myfoxtampabay.com
11 January 2010
S Nichols
Photo courtesy of My Fox Tampa Bay
Location: Florida, USA - Map It

>>> FULL ARTICLE [includes video, 1:49]

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Bees Equipped With Microchips Help Explain Hive Declines

In hopes of better understanding why bee populations are in decline, scientists are attaching microchips to bees to monitor their movements.

The tiny device is glued to the back of the bees works with equipment installed at the entrance of their hives to record different data.

Researchers say that the insight provided by this unprecedented observational technique will help them better understand the behavior of the insects throughout their entire lifecycles--and may shed light onto the reasons why bee populations have been steadily declining over the last 20 years.

Tree Hugger - www.treehugger.com
11 January 2010
S Messenger
Photo credit: P Psaïla/DoubleVue.fr

Other Bee News

World's biodiversity 'crisis' needs action, says UN

The UN has launched the International Year of Biodiversity, warning that the ongoing loss of species around the world is affecting human well-being.

Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met.

. . . With species extinctions running at about 1,000 times the "natural" or "background" rate, some biologists contend that we are in the middle of the Earth's sixth great extinction - the previous five stemming from natural events such as asteroid impacts.

BBC News - news.bbc.co.uk
11 January 2010
R Black
Photo courtesy of BBC News

>>> FULL ARTICLE [includes audio, 2:20]


Photo credit: H Dwyer/UC Davis
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Huh, That's Interesting!

Browse complete Digest publication library here.

The pH of Activation of the Hemagglutinin Protein Regulates H5N1 Influenza Virus Pathogenicity and Transmissibility in Ducks
J Virol. 2009 Nov 18. [Epub ahead of print]
ML Reed et al.

Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Associated with Aquatic Frogs --- United States, 2009
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2010 Jan 8; 58(51&52): 1433-1436
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What's New with Honeybees?
BioScience. 2009; 59(11):1010-1010
ME Watanabe

Haemagglutinin and neuraminidase characterization of low pathogenic H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses isolated from Northern pintails (Anas acuta) in Japan, with special reference to genomic and biogeographical aspects.
Virus Genes. 2009 Nov 15. [Epub ahead of print]
A Jahangir et al.

Why are American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) Populations Declining in North America? Evidence from Nest-Box Programs
Journal of Raptor Research. 2009; 43(4):274-282
JA Smallwood et al.