Action Synopsis: Bat Conservation About Actions

Modify bat hibernacula environments to increase survival of bats infected with white-nose syndrome

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study evaluated the effects of modifying hibernacula environments to increase the survival of bats infected with white-nose syndrome. The study was in the USA.



  • Survival (1 study): One randomized, replicated, controlled study in the USA found that a greater number of little brown bats infected with the white-nose syndrome fungus survived in hibernation chambers at 4°C than at 10°


  • Behaviour change (1 study): One randomized, replicated, controlled study in the USA found that little brown bats infected with the white-nose syndrome fungus stayed in hibernation for longer in hibernation chambers at 4°C than at 10°

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2013–2014 in a laboratory in Pennsylvania, USA (Johnson et al 2014) found that bats infected with the white-nose syndrome fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans were more likely to survive and stayed in hibernation for longer when placed in hibernation chambers at 4°C than at 10°C. A greater proportion of bats infected with the white-nose syndrome survived during hibernation at 4°C (43–67% of 14–15 bats) than at 10°C (7–53% of 14–15 bats). Infected bats also stayed in torpor for longer at 4°C (average 9–12 days) than at 10°C (6–7 days). For uninfected control bats, no significant differences were found between the two temperatures for survival (4°C: 80% of 14–15 bats survived; 10°C: 57% of 14–15 bats survived) or hibernation duration (4°C: average 13 days; 10°C: 11 days). In November 2013, 147 hibernating little brown bats Myotis lucifugus were collected from two mines. Bats were randomly placed into five groups for each of the two temperature treatments (4°C and 10°C; total 14–15 bats/group). Four groups were inoculated with different amounts of the white-nose syndrome fungus (500, 5,000, 50,000, or 500,000 spores). One control group was inoculated with a harmless saline solution. All bats were fitted with temperature dataloggers and placed within flight cages with internal chambers set to 4°C or 10°C (and ≤90% relative humidity) for 148 days.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Berthinussen, A., Richardson O.C. and Altringham J.D. (2021) Bat Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions. Conservation Evidence Series Synopses. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bat Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bat Conservation
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