White nose bat research.

At the recent VSA meeting we were addressed by a researcher from Melbourne University.

Anna Langguth is studying a fungus that attacks bats and causes the potentially deadly “White Nose Syndrome”, killing bats by interrupting winter hibernation. This fungus originated in Europe but recently has been found in USA, where it has caused the death of over 6 million microbats since its arrivalAs it is unlikely that bats can carry it so far, the fungus is probably carried by humans, i.e. tourists and cavers.

Research is being conducted to expand surveillance for the fungus causing White Nose Syndrome, which has yet to be found in Australia (but is likely to arrive before the year 2030).
Australian cavers are asked to take samples from their caving gear to test for the fungus. A small swab can be taken from boots and caving suits and posted to Anna at Melbourne Uni for analysis. Sampling kits and pre-paid envelopes will be provided to interested participants.
As swabs will also be profiled for overall fungal diversity, this work will also provide general insights into cave fungi found in south-east Australia.

If you are able to help by taking samples from caving gear, please contact Anna for further information.

Email: a.langguth@unimelb.edu.au