May 6, 2013

Seabirds Carry Warnings of Ocean Pollution and more wildlife disease news stories


White-Nose Syndrome map from White-Nose
Posted 03 May 2013
White-nose syndrome found in Boone National Forest

A rapidly spreading fungal disease affecting bats has been discovered in Daniel Boone National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service says white-nose syndrome was found on hibernating bats in six caves inside the forest. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources confirmed laboratory findings.

... Forest Biologist Sandra Kilpatrick says 38 bat hibernation caves were surveyed over the winter, with white-nose syndrome found in six. Those six caves are in Jackson, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties.
02 May 2013
Location: Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky, USA - Map It 

Scientists make strides toward restoring bighorn sheep in the American West

As pneumonia continues to limit recovery of the once nearly extinct bighorn sheep population in the western United States, a research team including scientists from Penn State's Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences has made key discoveries that lead to a better understanding of the disease and how it might be more effectively controlled.

..."Our findings suggest that the impacts of pneumonia on bighorn sheep populations are much worse than previously reported," says Plowright, lead author of the PLOS ONE paper. "The initial epidemic can cause high mortality, but subsequently adults—even chronic carriers—survive well, obscuring our detection of the disease. However, an average of 80 percent of the lambs die each year, and some populations continue to lose their lambs for decades, even to the point of extinction. Lamb pneumonia mortality is very difficult to detect, but it may be an explanation for the poor growth rates of many populations across the West."
03 May 2013
S Palmer

Cited Journal Article
Plowright RK, Manlove K, Cassirer EF, Cross PC, Besser TE, et al. (2013) Use of Exposure History to Identify Patterns of Immunity to Pneumonia in Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis). PLoS ONE 8(4): e61919. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061919

Seabirds Carry Warnings of Ocean Pollution

The best tools for tracking how well pollution-reduction laws are working may be seabirds.

Seabirds, including pelicans, gulls and terns, are at the top of the food chain, and they absorb the toxins and pollutants contained in the fish they eat, researchers write in the May 3 issue of the journal Science. And because seabirds forage over wide areas of oceans but come back to one spot each year to breed, they provide scientists with a one-stop-shop to sample from a broad geographic region.

Live Science
02 May 2013
S Pappas

Cited Journal Article
JE Elliott and KH Elliott (2013 May 03) Tracking Marine Pollution. Science. 340(6132): 556-558. DOI: 10.1126/science.1235197

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