Bat Killer Identified.

(Left) Healthy little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus (Right) Little brown bat infected with white-nose syndrome.

Since its first appearance in a New York cave in 2006, white-nose syndrome (WNS) has been associated with massive population declines in North America bat species.  The syndrome is characterized by the appearance of a white fungus on skin, and notably on the nose, of hibernating bats.  Unfortunately, these fungal growths are also associated with frequent disturbances during hibernations, a lack of important fat reserves and death.  In caves hit by the disease, colonies are reduced in size anywhere from 30 – 99% and the floor of the cave become littered with the bodies of dead bats [1].  Since its emergence, scientists have been working rapidly to determine the cause of this disease and suggest potential strategies to reduce its spread and help recover infected populations.
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Happy Wednesday.

Enjoy this inspirational video from David Attenborough and BBC One.

Beautiful Biology II

Check out this beautiful new video from Infectious Thoughts that explains how understanding what makes fireflies glow can help us to develop better antibiotics and address important global problems.  I think it is an excellent argument for the value of basic science research.  None of this would have been possible without funding for researchers to understand firefly biology, irrespective of the potential applications.

Here is a radio clip from Our Changing World on Radio New Zealand National where Siouxsie Wiles explains her research in more detail:

Bioluminescence and Superbugs

Giant What-a?

In popular science news this week, we find a story about the largest insect ever photographed.  The culprit caught in the photo above is known as a Giant Weta.  So, you may ask, what exactly is a Giant Weta? And, how exactly can you find (err, avoid) this critter?
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