The Boston Globe reported recently on the radically reducing bat population.  Scary stuff. As they note in the article

At least 1 million bats in the past three years have been wiped out by a puzzling, widespread disease dubbed “white-nose syndrome” in what preeminent US scientists are calling the most precipitous decline of North American wildlife in human history. If it isn’t slowed or stopped, they believe bats will continue disappearing from the landscape in huge numbers and that entire species could become extinct within a decade. It’s enough to make some wonder: Is the bat in the cave the new canary in the coal mine?

This does not augur well.  The people investigating these matters have testified before Congress and have been in need of more funds to figure out what is going on.

It’s important to understand this bat-loss for a number of reasons.  First, bats are important, eating huge numbers of insects that otherwise can cause crop damage and/or spread disease.  Further, we need to figure out what are the associated changes  shaping the ecosystem, so we can either try to fix things, or at least prepare as best we can for what’s to come.