Bats Battle Fungus

Bat Cave Microclimates at El Malpais

By Susan E. Swanberg, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Arizona

Imagine a world without bats—a world overrun with biting insects, a world where plants that rely upon bat pollinators might disappear.  Debbie Buecher, a Tucson bat biologist, is trying to prevent that scenario from becoming a reality. Buecher studies bat cave microclimates, examining whether conditions are ripe for the spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly known as Geomyces destructans), the fungal pathogen that causes White Nose Syndrome (WNS) in bats. WNS has hit the little brown bats of the genus Myotis, one of the most common bats in North America, particularly hard. (read more)

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