This activity explores images of bats with an infectious fungal disease, which serve as phenomena for learning about population dynamics and disease impacts.
White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that affects bat species in North America. Bats infected with the fungus that causes WNS wake up from hibernation too early, leading them to use up their energy stores and even die from starvation when they cannot find any insects to eat. Because bats play an important role in ecosystems by controlling insect populations, WNS may have far-reaching negative effects. These images show a bat infected with WNS and a bat hibernaculum (hibernation location) after multiple years of its bats being infected.
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the images as phenomena. The “Student Handout” includes the images and background information.
Student Learning Targets
Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
Predict and graph how WNS may affect the size of bat populations over time.
fungus, graphing, hibernation, infectious disease, invasive species, little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), population collapse, regional extinction
Frick, Winifred F., Jacob F. Pollock, Alan C. Hicks, Katie E. Langwig, D. Scott Reynolds, Gregory G. Turner, Calvin M. Butchkoski, and Thomas H. Kunz. "An emerging disease causes regional population collapse of a common North American bat species." Science 329, 5992 (2010): 679–682. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1188594.
SYI-2.B, SYI-3.D; SP3
4.1, C.1, C.2, C.5