White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a devastating fungal disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats since the winter of 2006, triggering what is thought to be the fastest decline of wild mammals in history. UWinnipeg’s Post-doctoral Fellow Dr. Yvonne Dzal has just been awarded a Liber Ero Fellowship valued at $140,000 to continue research aimed at improving the survival of bats affected by WNS.
Dzal has been working with UWinnipeg’s internationally renowned researcher Dr. Craig Willis in the Department of Biology, who specializes in WNS. She will also be working with Dr. Winifred Frick, the Chief Scientist of Bat Conservation International, the most important NGO involved in the conservation of bats worldwide.
Dzal’s research will provide a unique, physiological perspective on mitigation and conservation of WNS-affected bats, and generate data-driven management recommendations to aid bat recovery and conservation. She has a passion and commitment to understanding physiological mechanisms that help address large ecological questions and conservation issues.
“I am overly elated to be able to work with Dr. Willis and Dr. Frick on this very important project, while getting an amazing opportunity to learn from the other Fellows and work on professional development through the program,” said Dzal.
Dzal is motivated in undertaking interdisciplinary collaborative research. This collaboration can lead to extraordinary results that combine theory, expertise, and techniques that are important for conservation and management to tackle specific research questions.
“Dr. Dzal is an up-and-coming star of wildlife research in Canada and the prestigious Liber Ero Fellowship will help her apply her great experience in animal physiology to an ongoing crisis for conservation,” said Willis. “Our partnership with Bat Conservation International, will also help Dr. Dzal mobilize experimental academic research into tangible action that can help bats in the wild.”
The Liber Ero Fellowship Program supports emerging conservation leaders and gives them the training, networking, and encouragement to solve important conservation questions facing humanity.