We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Bat Mass Extinction Fungus Driven
Unlike bees, we do not practice
bat husbandry.I have long proposed such
be undertaken, and with the collapse of the native bat populations it is
plausibly a necessity.It may need to be
with European bats.
Building a bat house is no big
trick and any farmer with common sense can do this.One needs to be concerned about temperatures
in winter and summer and ventilation. Most important is to have the capacity to
harvest the guano.
The benefits have always been
obvious starting with insect suppression, particularly around other animal
husbandry where flies and horseflies are a particular nuisance.Once a colony is established, a steady supply
of guano is assured and can be worked into mulches and soils as desired.
I would be inclined to set them
adjacent to buildings out of the way but able to connect a light bulb in the
winter to take some of the chill out of the roosting area.None of this is difficult to rig up.
If the result of this die off is
a formal bat husbandry, then some good may come out of this. We should have done this a long time ago.
The disease that has ravaged bat populations across North
America since 2006 is caused by a fungus, scientists
confirmed in a study published Thursday.
Since the first known outbreak in a colony of bats in upstate New York, white-nose syndrome (WNS) -- named after the
discoloration on infected animals' snouts -- has spread 2,000 kilometres (1,200
miles) across the United States
and into Canada,
killing at least a million of the winged mammals.
WNS wipes out up to 97 percent of winter colonies of species that
hibernate, including little brown bats, northern long-eared bats and the
endangered Indiana bat, according to the United States Geological Survey
Some scientists suspected that the culprit behind the disease was
called Geomyces destructans.
But skeptics noted that bats in Europe
have been colonised by the same fungus without any increase in deaths and
argued that WNS was caused by some other agent.
Probing further, USGS scientists led by David Blehert undertook three
In the first, they exposed 29 healthy, hibernating little brown bats to
G. destructans samples that had been harvested from a pure culture.
All the bats tested positive for the fungus by the end of the 102-day
experiment, whereas those in a non-infected control group remained healthy.
Among the bats that died, all had lesions consistent with white-nose
In a second experiment, healthy bats were housed together with
hibernating bats naturally infected with the fungus, a situation that arises in
nature and could account for its rapid spread.
Nearly 90 percent of the non-infected group developed WNS symptoms
within the 102-day period, "demonstrating for the first time that WNS is
transmissible," the researchers said.
Finally, to see if the disease can be spread through the air without physical
contact, the scientists placed healthy and infected bats in separate but nearby
After 102 days, none of the animals exposed to possible airborne fungi
from bats with WNS showed any signs of infection..
have the unique capacity to drive host populations to extinction because of
their ability to survive in host-free environments," the researchers said.
"Given the high mortality rate and speed at which WNS has spread,
the disease has the potential to decimate North American bat populations and
cause species extinctions similar to those documented for amphibians."
The researchers speculated that European bats had developed immunity to
the fungus, which is why their populations have not been affected by it.
Bats are in important natural pesticide worth at least 3.7 billion dollars
per year to farmers, a recent study calculated.