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Medicine, Ecology, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, Physics, whatever you want to share, I'm all ears!
If there is any subject you did an indepth report on or know a lot about, we would love to know more about it!
Something that is near and dear to my heart is the protection of bat species. In light of this, here is my information on the bat-killing disease, White-Nose Syndrome.
White-Nose Syndrome is a bat-killing fungal disease. It was found in Howes Cave, New York State, back in 2006 and has since spread through the eastern half of the US and 5 provinces of Canada. Since it came about suddenly, there are a good number of scientists who think it is a novel pathogen or one that was introduced where it previously was not found. The strain is an exact match (as far as I know) of one previously seen in Europe. Nonetheless, /much/ debate surrounds this topic.
In the last seven years, approximately 6 MILLION bats have died. The main case of death? Starvation. Bats hibernate in caves during the winter where they huddle together in very large numbers to be warmer. Unfortunately for them, this fungus thrives in cold climates and latches onto the bats while they are hibernating. In an effort to fight off the fungus, they run through their energy reserves. A last ditch effort to survive sends many of these emaciated bats out into the bitter cold wastes of winter to find no insects around to eat. That is, if they can even fly. The fungus has been known to cause substantial wing tissue damage. As such, the populations of many species, but especially the "common" little brown bat, have been affected in recent years. In fact, some estimates predict 99% mortality in the next 20 years for the little brown, leading it to near extinction. Even then, it is not likely they will be listed as endangered (even though they probably are in same states, including mine, because they are "pests" and people still pay to have them exterminated). I probably should mention that big brown bats have been surprisingly immune to WNS and have felt its effects to a far lower degree of severity, but this is not the case for most species. Big browns seem to be increasing in number in some areas where most bat populations have been declining or stagnating.
Here is a picture of bats infected with the fungus:
As for how far it has spread the last 7 years, consult the following diagram:
batcon.org and the Save Lucy the Bat Foundation have been around to spread awareness. Likely the most frightening thing about this disease is how few people know anything about it! Please spread the word and help save the bats!
You can build bat boxes to provide homes for bats so that they have less reason to nest in homes. Bats control insects and have been known to eat twice their body weight every day. One estimate claims that 1 million bats are able to eat approximately 694 million TONS of insects per year. If a farmer were to pay them per acre for their services (as silly as that sounds) it would be approximately 75$/acre per bat. Also, bats very, very rarely bother humans. Their probability of carrying rabies is far less than raccoons and other mammals. They can be a source of food for some opportunistic mammals as well as birds of prey, and are the lifeblood for many cave ecosystems where their input of guano adds a large majority of the system's nutrients.
Well, many bat species migrate long distances. Some are very high fliers and rarely captured with the netting technique used to sample.
Bats have a characteristic call, but not in the same way that a bird does. Their echolocation signals vary from species to species, which is a convenient tool for scientists who want to claim that a certain species is or is not present in an area.
Bats have very few offspring, usually only one a year, making them very prone to extinction.
Some bats are pollinators in their area, others eat insects, fruits, and one equatorial species eats the blood of livestock.
A star just exploded nearby in Messier 82, about 12 million light years away from Earth... Nearby enough for observers to go out and observe the supernova tonight if they want. (Though you may need equipment. But some have said they can see it with powerful enough binoculars.) Check around Ursa Major. (Google for more information.)