Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Major Professor

Gary F. McCracken

Committee Members

Susan E. Riechert, James A. Fordyce, Todd M. Freeberg

Abstract

This dissertation investigates regional differences in the behavior and activity of bats in eastern North America during the white-nose syndrome epizootic, specifically in the understudied region of the Southeastern United States. An introductory section provides a brief review of the history of white-nose syndrome, an emerging infectious disease in bats, and its introduction into North America. Chapter one provides the first documented evidence of bat activity outside of hibernacula throughout winter. The research presented in chapter two attempts to explain the variation in load and prevalence of P. destructans among species, sites and between years. Finally, chapter three examines the differences in the species affected by white-nose syndrome in the Southeast, as well as the regional variation in the timing and severity of decline in bat communities during summer. A conclusion section at the end of this dissertation summarizes the main findings and provides directions for future research.

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