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Publication Date

November 2019


Studies of fungi in caves have become increasingly important with the advent of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the invasive fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) that has killed an estimated 6.5 million North American bats. We swabbed cave walls in New Brunswick, Canada, in 2012 and 2015 to determine whether the culturable fungal assemblage on cave walls changed after the introduction of Pd and subsequent decrease in hibernating bat populations. We also compared fungal assemblages on cave walls to previous studies on the fungal assemblages of arthropods and hibernating bats in the same sites. The fungal diversity of bats and cave walls was more similar than on arthropods. The diversity and composition of fungal assemblages on cave walls was significantly different among media types and sites but did not differ over time. Therefore, no change in the culturable fungal assemblage present on cave walls was detected with the introduction of Pd and subsequent disappearance of the hibernating bat population over a 3-year period. This suggests that fungi documented in caves in the region prior to the outbreak of Pd do not require regular transmission of spores by bats to maintain fungal diversity at these sites.


Cave Fungi, Culture Media, Pseudogymnoascus, Bat Fungi, White-Nose Syndrome, Speleology, Cave Microbiology, Fungal Ecology, Cave Biology




Diversity, Vol. 11, no. 12 (2019-11-23).





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