Seventeen bat species roost on Yosemite’s cliffs. As people scale those walls, park scientists are concerned about the potential for climbers to spread white-nose syndrome (WNS), which has killed millions of bats in the eastern U.S. and Washington State.
The fungus that causes WNS thrives in caves like the ones in which Yosemite’s bats roost during the winter. Irritation from the fungus prompts bats to emerge from hibernation, a dangerous disruption that can end in starvation.
To determine whether and how Yosemite’s bats are at risk, scientists will use temperature and humidity data to identify potential fungal hotspots on rock walls. That crucial knowledge will inform strategies for preventing WNS from taking hold in the park, such as educating climbers about how to avoid spreading the deadly fungus.
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