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Symbiotic Relationships of Fungi

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Mushroom Head

Mushroom Head

Flying-fox in Rinca, Indonesia. These are the largest bats in the world.

They May Be A Fungi, But I Don't Like Them

Thanks to Halloween, people have a strange image of bats. They may even be the least popular mammal on the planet. But bats play important roles in ecosystems, and that's why some people are noticing that some of our bats are missing.

No Duh's and Head Scratchers

If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. What causes the white-nose in white-nose syndrome? Is this confined to a single species of bat? What do you think this indicates about how long this relationship between fungus and bats has existed?
  2. Since 27% of the bats in an infected roost survive on average, do you think it is possible that the bats may survive this fungal invasion? Why or why not? Think carefully and remember there are many factors in play and no "correct" answer at this point.
  3. What are some of the consequences people fear with declining bat populations? Can you think of another way to deal with these problems besides helping the bats?
  4. Would you like to have a bathouse in your backyard? Why or why not?
  5. What about the life histories of the fungus which causes white-nose syndrome and the infected bats leads to the speculation that climate change may be behind the spread of this disease? What kinds of information would you need to collect to test this hypothesis?

Resources

Sights like this may become a thing of the past in eastern North America if bat populations keep declining.

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