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University of Dubuque Student to Represent U.S. in International Competition

University of Dubuque’s Meagan Albon (C’18) and University of California, Berkeley’s Madeleine Zuercher (C’19) have partnered to represent the United States at the 13th annual International Junior Foresters’ Competition from September 4-9, 2016, in Peterhof, Russia.

The students will present “Bat Ecology in a Northeastern Iowa Forest: Determining Spatial and Temporal Patterns and Exposure Risk to the White-Nose Syndrome Fungus.”

Sponsored by the Russian Federal Forest Agency, the competition will bring together youth, ages 14 to 22, from nations around the world to promote and reward young scientists for their interest and efforts in the environmental field and to encourage international dialogue on forestry issues. The U.S. Forest Service selected only one project to participate.

Bat research started at UD five years ago when Megan Johnson (C’13) received a Joseph and Linda Chlapaty Summer Fellowship. The University was eventually invited by Effigy Mounds National Monument to document the park’s bat community and assess the risk of exposure to the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome. The fungus wakes hibernating bats, which causes them to search for food and water. The bats essentially starve to death.

The northern long-eared bat is one of the species of bats most impacted by the fungus. It was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. UD researchers have found a community with more of those species of bats than suspected in Effigy Mounds.

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