Disease Causing Steep Decline of Bats

Mapping the Spread of White-Nose Syndrome with GIS

…from the Winter 2009/2010 issue of ArcNews

Caves have become graveyards for what biologists estimate as more than one million bats, the victims of a devastating disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS).

Building on the work of its partners, Bat Conservation International (BCI) is using GIS to create a geodatabase of critical hibernation sites and map the probable spread of the disease. Understanding how WNS has spread and is expected to spread in the future will help biologists respond to the disease using surveillance and conservation actions.

The first case of WNS in hibernating bats was discovered in a cave near Albany, New York, in February 2006. Since then, the disease is known to have killed bats in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.