onEarth magazine interviewed Vladimir Dinets for this story about the importance of bat guano to the existence of entire ecosystems. The publication featured his research about the Caucasian parsley frog–an amphibian living in caves near the border between Russia and the Republic of Georgia–that shows significant preference for caves with bat colonies, most likely because insects breeding in bat waste provided a rich source of food.
Dinets noted that bat colonies are disappearing all across the Caucasus due to development, tourism, unregulated use of pesticides, and deforestation. This could mean the death of animals that have relied on bats for survival. “The Sochi Olympics, in particular, were a huge ecological disaster,” Dinets said. “Pristine valleys clear-cut, roads blasted through precious canyons, tree pathogens introduced to local forests with exotic trees imported for landscaping, Europe’s tallest trees cut down to build ski routes and lifts.”
onEarth also promoted the story on Twitter.
Dinets is a research assistant professor of psychology.