Researchers turn to guano for climate studies


National News

January 9, 2020 - 10:27 AM

A cluster of hibernating gray bats (Myotis grisescens). VIA FLICKR/USFWA/ANN FROSCHAUER/TNS

ST. LOUIS — Whether it’s ice, lake-bottom mud, or cave stalactites and stalagmites, if something piles up and accumulates over time, it can tell scientists about past climate conditions or surrounding landscapes and how they’ve changed.

That’s also true for big, old, slippery piles of bat poop, or guano, from Missouri caves. The material is the focus of an ongoing study by researchers from Washington University, the Missouri Botanical Garden and Virginia Tech.

It makes for a messy medium.

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