Bat Ecosystem Print

Image of Bat Ecosystem Print Image of Bat Ecosystem Print Image of Bat Ecosystem Print Image of Bat Ecosystem Print
Samantha Grillo
WPI 2021
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**8 inch by 10 inch** print of my Bat drawing on cardstock, matte paper. Bats hold a special place in my heart. As a child I remember hearing about bat populations dying off and realizing I had not seen a bat at all that summer. Freshman year of college, I completed a project on White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is an epidemic disease in bats caused by the fungus *Pseudogymnoascus destructans*. The fungus threatens hibernating bat populations in North America with local extinction by depleting a hibernating bat's energy reserves and forcing it to wake up and find food in the dead of winter. Since 2006, over 6 million bats have died from WNS and studies have found a 90-100% mortality rate in many hibernacula. This disease poses no threat to humans, but a great threats to New England and, recently, Texas bat populations. Every species plays a role in its ecosystem, but bats are known pollinators and pest-controllers. Yes bats may look a little scary, but they are actually pretty dang cute, and they are struggling to maintain their populations in North America. This is why, while I depicted the bat in a gothic style because it fits my art's aesthetic, I included the "*Pseudogymnoascus destructans*" banner to remind those who enjoy the spooky depiction of bats, that these babies are an important part of their respective ecosystems.