Cited in Conservation Biology and PLoS ONE
Our research article titled “Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans growth from conidia and mycelial extension by bacterially produced volatile organic compounds” was recently cited in two other journals. Maslo et al. wrote in the journal Conservation Biology, “A case study of bats and white-nose syndrome demonstrating how to model population viability with evolutionary effects.” and Hoyt et al. wrote in the journal PLoS ONE, “Bacteria Isolated from Bats Inhibit the Growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome.“
Maslo B, Fefferman NH. 2015. A case study of bats and white-nose syndrome demonstrating how to model population viability with evolutionary effects. Conservation Biology.
Ecological factors generally affect population viability on rapid time scales. Traditional population viability analyses (PVA) therefore focus on alleviating ecological pressures, discounting potential evolutionary impacts on individual phenotypes. Recent studies of evolutionary rescue (ER) focus on cases in which severe, environmentally induced population bottlenecks trigger a rapid evolutionary response that can potentially reverse demographic threats. ER models have focused on shifting genetics and resulting population recovery, but no one has explored how to incorporate those findings into PVA. We integrated ER into PVA to identify the critical decision interval for evolutionary rescue (DIER) under which targeted conservation action should be applied to buffer populations undergoing ER against extinction from stochastic events and to determine the most appropriate vital rate to target to promote population recovery. We applied this model to little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) affected by white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease causing massive declines in several North American bat populations. Under the ER scenario, the model predicted that the DIER period for little brown bats was within 11 years of initial WNS emergence, after which they stabilized at a positive growth rate (λ = 1.05). By comparing our model results with population trajectories of multiple infected hibernacula across the WNS range, we concluded that ER is a potential explanation of observed little brown bat population trajectories across multiple hibernacula within the affected range. Our approach provides a tool that can be used by all managers to provide testable hypotheses regarding the occurrence of ER in declining populations, suggest empirical studies to better parameterize the population genetics and conservation-relevant vital rates, and identify the DIER period during which management strategies will be most effective for species conservation.
Hoyt JR, Cheng TL, Langwig KE, Hee MM, Frick WF, Kilpatrick AM. 2015 Bacteria Isolated from Bats Inhibit the Growth of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causative Agent of White-Nose Syndrome. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121329.
Emerging infectious diseases are a key threat to wildlife. Several fungal skin pathogens have recently emerged and caused widespread mortality in several vertebrate groups, including amphibians, bats, rattlesnakes and humans. White-nose syndrome, caused by the fungal skin pathogen Pseudogymnoascus destructans, threatens several hibernating bat species with extinction and there are few effective treatment strategies. The skin microbiome is increasingly understood to play a large role in determining disease outcome. We isolated bacteria from the skin of four bat species, and co-cultured these isolates with P. destructans to identify bacteria that might inhibit or kill P. destructans. We then conducted two reciprocal challenge experiments in vitro with six bacterial isolates (all in the genus Pseudomonas) to quantify the effect of these bacteria on the growth of P. destructans. All six Pseudomonas isolates significantly inhibited growth of P. destructans compared to non-inhibitory control bacteria, and two isolates performed significantly better than others in suppressing P. destructans growth for at least 35 days. In both challenge experiments, the extent of suppression of P. destructans growth was dependent on the initial concentration of P. destructans and the initial concentration of the bacterial isolate. These results show that bacteria found naturally occurring on bats can inhibit the growth of P. destructans in vitro and should be studied further as a possible probiotic to protect bats from white-nose syndrome. In addition, the presence of these bacteria may influence disease outcomes among individuals, populations, and species.
Cornelison CT, Gabriel KT, Barlament CK, Crow SA Jr. 2013. Inhibition of Pseudogymnoascus destructans growth from conidia and mycelial extension by bacterially produced volatile organic compounds. Mycopathologia. 177(1-2):1-10.
The recently identified causative agent of white-nose syndrome (WNS), Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has been implicated in the mortality of an estimated 5.5 million North American bats since its initial documentation in 2006 (Frick et al. in Science 329:679–682, 2010). In an effort to identify potential biological and chemical control options for WNS, 6 previously described bacterially produced volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were screened for anti-P. destructans activity. The compounds include decanal; 2-ethyl-1-hexanol; nonanal; benzothiazole; benzaldehyde; andN,N-dimethyloctylamine. P. destructans conidia and mycelial plugs were exposed to the VOCs in a closed air space at 15 and 4 °C and then evaluated for growth inhibition. All VOCs inhibited growth from conidia as well as inhibiting radial mycelial extension, with the greatest effect at 4 °C. Studies of the ecology of fungistatic soils and the natural abundance of the fungistatic VOCs present in these environments suggest a synergistic activity of select VOCs may occur. The evaluation of formulations of two or three VOCs at equivalent concentrations was supportive of synergistic activity in several cases. The identification of bacterially produced VOCs with anti-P. destructans activity indicates disease-suppressive and fungistatic soils as a potentially significant reservoir of biological and chemical control options for WNS and provides wildlife management personnel with tools to combat this devastating disease.