STEM Shoutout: Jennifer Jane Marshall Hathaway

Healthy bat populations are being studied to prevent deadly disease

Biology research scientist Jennifer Jane Marshall Hathaway is studying the microbiome in bats in New Mexico to help understand healthy bat populations.

Funded by the New Mexico Fish and Game department, the project could potentially assist in the prevention of the spread of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that can kill about 99% of infected bats in certain species.

“We are investigating both the bacterial and fungal overlap between bats from El Malpais National Monument and the caves in which they roost to determine what potentially beneficial bacteria and fungi bats are acquiring from their roosting environment,” Hathaway said. “This information will help determine the effects of any potential cave-wide treatments for White-nose syndrome, as well as better understand the microbiota of bats and their relationship to their environment.”