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Save the Fungi (NOT?)

PostPosted: Nov 20, 2010 12:45 pm
by tncaver
Sometimes the do gooders in America really surprise me with their theories about "protecting" things.
It has been mentioned that using any kind of fungicide in a cave to treat White Nose Syndrome is a no no because
it might inadvertently harm other fungi or critters in the cave environment.

This logic may be flawed because: #1. endangered bat species are in immediate danger of being wiped out, they should be a priority, #2. most hibernaculum house a limited number of bats who reside in a very limited portion of most caves, #3. fungi may be present by the millions and/or may reside throughout an entire cave system as opposed to one small area of a cave (although some may reside only in the vicinity of bats).

I understand the intent to use caution to prevent contamination of any cave environment however I also understand the immediate need to find a cure or
treatment for WNS. The Nature Conservancy is currently attempting to avoid this issue by building an artificial cave. I hope it will be successful. It will
avoid contaminating an actual cave. However, I can not help but wonder...if The Nature Conservancy finds a cure or treatment that is effective at killing
WNS spores, etc., will they be allowed to use it in an actual cave?

I hope so. Rebuttal both pro or con is welcome.

Re: Save the Fungi (NOT?)

PostPosted: Nov 21, 2010 8:05 pm
by Teresa
Life is a dynamic, always changing system. I'm sure dinosaurs were annoyed by these little shrew-like things that were always scurrying about, too. My theory is the next intelligent life form on Earth will be a cockroach, or a beetle. But it might be a fungi.

Karst, too, is an evolving, dynamic system. There is no such thing as a "permanent" cave. It is just one step along the limestone cycle. Yet we put inordinate effort into "preserving" caves.

I'm personally not sure that people (regardless of how many degrees) are smart enough to know what they are doing when they meddle in ecosystems. (Obviously, I'm a Darwinist.) People seem to think they are outside of the system, not part of it. Not true...

All that being said...trying to do what we can makes people feel good. But the Hippocratic oath says, "first do no harm." If we're smart enough to know what "no harm" is in the first place.

A test cave is probably a good idea. But in the long run, the bats are going to make it (or not) because of their innate ability to survive and adapt. I'm rooting for the bats, but don't think people can "solve" the problem.