Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Eversole

Second Advisor

Dr. Maarten Vonhof

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Mackenzie

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until

12-15-2017

Abstract

This research builds upon a previous study conducted that tested the efficacy of chitosan on experimentally-infected bats as a laboratory model of White-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is a fungal infection caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, formerly known as Geomyces destructans. The pathology of this disease is not yet fully understood, but it is devastating bats throughout Northeastern America and continues to spread. Here we tested multiple application time points and concentrations of chitosan on the wings of experimentally-infected bats and compared them with the controls. We grossly viewed the wings first to get a sense of the amount of damage that was present and found that closer examination was required. We then closely examined the muzzles for the presence of Pd. Finally, we closely examined the wings for the presence of an inflammatory response in the bats after arousing from torpor indicated by the presence of neutrophilic infiltrations. Chitosan significantly limited fungal presence in the muzzles and improved the survival outcome of little brown bats. The fungus clearly caused inflammation in WNS-affected bats after emergence from torpor. These data support the use of chitosan for bats with WNS and merits further testing to determine the appropriate dosage amount and delivery methodology for field trials.

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