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Data from: Drivers of population dynamics of at-risk populations change with pathogen arrival

Cite this dataset

Grimaudo, Alexander (2024). Data from: Drivers of population dynamics of at-risk populations change with pathogen arrival [Dataset]. Dryad.


Successful wildlife conservation in an era of global change requires understanding determinants of species population growth. However, when populations are faced with novel stressors, factors associated with healthy populations can change, necessitating shifting conservation strategies. For example, emerging infectious diseases can cause conditions previously beneficial to host populations to increase disease impacts. Here, we paired a population dataset of 265 colonies of the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) with 50.7 logger-years of environmental data to explore factors that affected colony response to white-nose syndrome (WNS), an emerging fungal disease. We found variation in colony responses to WNS, ranging from extirpation to stabilization. The severity of WNS impacts was associated with hibernaculum temperature, as colonies of cold hibernacula declined more severely than those in relatively warm hibernacula, an association that arose following pathogen emergence. Interestingly, this association was opposite that of a sympatric bat species, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), illustrating that environmental dependence of disease can vary by species in a multi-host community. Simulating future colony dynamics suggests that most extirpations have already occurred, as the pathogen has been present for several years in most colonies, and that relatively small colonies are more susceptible to extirpation. Overall, this study illustrates that emerging infectious diseases can change the factors associated with host population growth, including through novel environmental associations that vary by host species. Consideration of these shifting associations and differences between impacted species will be essential to the conservation of host communities challenged by emerging infectious disease. 

README: Data from: Drivers of population dynamics of at-risk populations change with pathogen arrival

This dataset contains population census data from 265 colonies of the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) impacted by white-nose syndrome. It additionally contains data on the temperature and humidity conditions of their hibernacula, information used to explore dynamic associations between environmental conditions and population response to pathogen invasion. 

Description of the data and file structure

The data used in the study is provided in a single .csv file entitled "data.csv." It contains yearly census and population growth data for each of the 265 Indiana bat colonies. Below is a description of the data contained in each column:

  • Site: a unique name randomly assigned to each hibernaculum containing an Indiana bat colony. 
  • State: U.S. state of colony.
  • County: county of colony.
  • Wyear: year census data was collected. 
  • Count: colony census value recorded in wyear. 
  • Epi_year: WNS epidemic year. Epidemic year 0 corresponds to year of detection of P. destructans.
  • Lambda: proportional population growth since previous year. 
  • Epi.phase: current epidemic phase of colony when census value was collected. 
  • Site.status: last knowm status of Indiana bat colony.
  • mean early hibernation temperature in celsius recorded in hibernaculum.
  • mean early hibernation vapor pressure deficit (log-transformed kilopascals) recorded in hibernaculum. 
  • Pre.wns.colony.size: most recent census value recorded prior to the detection of P. destructans.
  • Ext.sim.pre.count: most recent pre-WNS colony size values used in colony extirpation simulation. If no pre-WNS census data was available for a colony, its earliest post-WNS census value was used instead. 
  • Mylu.count: census value of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), if available. 

Values of NA in or indicate that environmental data loggers were not deployed in those hibernacula and environmental data is therefore unavailable. Values of NA in pre.wns.colony.size or ext.sim.pre.count indicate that no colony census data was available prior to the detection of WNS in the colony or shortly thereafter, respectively. Values of NA in mylu.count indicate that no census data was available for the Myotis lucifugus population in the hibernaculum in the corresponding survey year. 


United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Award: F19AP00279

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1911853, EEID