White-nose syndrome: is this emerging disease a threat to European bats?
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a newly emergent disease that potentially threatens all temperate bat species. A recently identified fungus, Geomyces destructans, is the most likely causative agent of this disease. Until 2009, WNS and G. destructans were exclusively known from North America, but recent studies have confirmed this fungus is also present in Europe. We assembled an international WNS consortium of 67 scientists from 29 countries and identified the most important research and conservation priorities to assess the risk of WNS to European bats. Here, we review what is known about WNS and G. destructans and detail the conservation and research recommendations aimed at understanding and containing this emerging infectious disease.