White-Nose Syndrome Survey at White River Cave
On February 24, 2015, Dr. Chris Cornelison and doctoral students Kyle Gabriel and Kelly Cannon of Georgia State University joined Katrina Morris and Jackie Jeffery of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for a population and white-nose syndrome (WNS) survey of bats in the private White River Cave, just outside Rockmart, Georgia. Our interest in joining this expedition was to further our understanding of the cave environment and the challenges faced when developing in situ WNS treatment methods. Although the temperature outside was below 0°C, the temperature of the cave remained between 9°C – 12°C. Over the five hours in the cave, several bats and cave walls were swabbed for later PCR analysis to determine the presence and abundance of the WNS fungus, and a population count reaching over 160 (however, this was far lower than previous years).
Photos © 2015 Kyle Gabriel