White-nose syndrome, an infectious fungus that thrives in cold weather, already has spread to 17 states and killed 1 million bats since its discovery in New York four years ago. Little brown bats have been the most affected, having lost roughly 20% of their population in the northeastern U.S. to the fungus. Scientists are endeavoring to discover the origin of the fungus and effective measures for fighting its spread. Biologists have expressed growing concerns over the ecological imbalance that could ensue if the bats disappear because of the fungus.

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