Bat poo offers climate change clues
Termites and now bat poo? Earlier this month, I came across a study on how termites can help predict climate change, and now, an Australian researcher is reporting that bat droppings can also offer clues.
An Australian researcher says bat droppings can provide climate change clues in rain forests and semi-arid regions. Here, a fruit bat soars above the trees in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.
Chris Wurster, an earth scientist at James Cook University in Queensland, said Monday that bat droppings in caves can help measure climate change in tropical rainforests and semi-arid regions.
"Understanding how environments and climates have changed in the past is critical to the task of assessing the possible impacts of future climates," Wurster said in a statement. He said bat droppings or "guano" accumulate many meters thick in caves.
"These provide rich records of the type of plants eaten by the insects that are, in turn, consumed by the bats and birds. We can then surmise how the environment changed over many thousands of years," he said detailing two case studies -- one from the Grand Canyon in Arizona and a second from equatorial South East Asia.
Other new research has found that termites, because they are careful builders that locate their mounds in areas with the right balance of moisture and drainage, help explain how a local ecosystem evolve. That work was done by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.