Current Events 2 Essay

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Honors Biology Current Events Report
“Bat Cave Offers Embattled Bats a Safe Haven From Fungus”
Tayla Willson 11­20­14

Source: Ornes, Stephen. "Bat Cave Offers Embattled Bats a Safe Haven From Fungus."
Washington Post 30 Oct. 2012. Science in Context. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.

Summary: In his article, “Bat Cave Offers Embattled Bats a Safe Haven From Fungus,” Ornes reports that an artificial cave was built to protect bats against white nose syndrome. White nose syndrome is a disease named for a white fungus that infects the skin of the muzzle, ears and wings of hibernating bats. The fungus is hard to treat because it invades deeper layers of the skin than most other fungi that attack mammals, which is why scientists and researchers made an artificial cave as a way to prevent this disease. The artificial cave in Montgomery County,
Tennessee is 80­feet­long and cost about $300,000 (paid for by private donors). The cave was equipped with infrared cameras to allow scientists to observe the animals. While bats are away in the summer, the human caretakers disinfect the room to get rid of an stray spores of the disease.
Fortunately, the fungus does not pose threat to humans. Yearly disinfections have the potential to keep the bats and the environment disease­free. However, the bats still have the risk of getting the fungus from fellow hibernators, but never from their man­made environment itself. The fungus thrives in the damp soil of caves. One big problem with the fungus is that it doesn't require bats as a host, this means that an infected cave remains toxic even if all the bats flee or die. Scientists are confident that the bats will choose the artificial cave for their hibernation because bats are known to utilize abandoned mine shafts and similar man­made structures. The artificial cave will attract the bats because of the equipped air conditioners that help cool the cave to a temperature of 45 to 48 degrees. Once bats start to move in the cave they will deposit guano.
Guano is the excrement of cave­dwelling