Posted: July 3, 2020

Applications due August 25, 2020

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce the availability of research funding in 2020 to investigate issues related directly to the management of white-nose syndrome (WNS). The Service provides financial and technical assistance to non-governmental, university, and private researchers, as well as state and local governments, Native American tribes, and federal agencies, for the management of WNS and conservation of bats. Funded projects will investigate priority questions about WNS to improve our ability to manage the disease and implement management actions that will help to conserve affected bat species. As of June 2020, WNS has been confirmed in bats in 35 states and seven Canadian provinces, and the causative fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has been detected in at least four additional states without confirmation of the disease. Numerous North American and Eurasian species of bats have been confirmed with WNS or detected carrying Pd. Surveys in affected areas continue to reveal population declines associated with the disease at contaminated sites in North America. For information on WNS and previously funded projects, please see: Projects funded through WNS Research Grants provide critical information and resources to maximize conservation efforts for bats. These funds support actions focused on knowledge gaps in the fight against WNS. The results of funded projects are intended to add to the information and tools available to wildlife and resource managers to minimize the impacts of WNS on listed species, prioritize actions to conserve species that may be assessed for listing due to the impacts of WNS, understand how different species are likely to respond when exposed to the pathogen, and engage the public in conservation efforts. Although WNS has decimated several species of bats in North America, funding and information from the Service's WNS National Response has supported the management community to focus efforts where there is the greatest need and benefit. The priorities for this funding opportunity in 2020 (below) are intentionally broad and designed to maximize persistence of WNS-affected and WNS-susceptible bat populations, support the collaborative actions of the WNS National Response, and inform management decisions in preparation for, or in response to, WNS. Scientific research conducted in collaboration with management authorities is encouraged. The four priorities for funding in 2020 are for recipients to: Address gaps in knowledge of bat life history relevant to the biological and ecological needs of species known or anticipated to be exposed to WNS; Provide information on patterns of survival and population dynamics between and within bat species, including sublethal effects of Pd infection and vulnerability to WNS. Underlying mechanisms may involve environmental, physiological, behavioral, genetic and/or other factors affecting the hosts or pathogen; Develop and implement strategies to improve survival and persistence of species impacted by or susceptible to WNS. This priority may include species that are not yet confirmed to be susceptible to WNS but can reasonably be anticipated to be at risk in the future; and Investigate human dimensions of WNS management, including understanding how values, perceptions, and other factors may influence management strategies for bats.

See full solicitation here