The Bat Association of MSU is a registered student organization at Michigan State University. Our mission is to provide space for students to learn about bats and to help the community better understand and appreciate the important role bats play in our ecosystem.
Our Shared Values
As a group we support the One Health model, understanding that the health of our community is intimately linked with the health of our ecosystem. One Health is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and environment. Bat conservation has a large role to play in this effort for a number of reasons.
Bats make up the largest number of any mammalian species. With over 1200 species identified so far, 1 in every 5 species of mammal is a bat. Their ability to fly has given them the unique ability to speciate and adapt to a huge variety of environmental conditions. From the smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, to the fastest animal on earth, the Mexican free-tail bat, bats present us with a tremendous amount of insight into the evolutionary process.
Bats are also crucial for seed dispersal and pollination. Their ability to fly means that they can carry fruit seeds long distances. As pollinators, they are crucial for a wide variety of fruit production including bananas, cocoa, mangoes, papaya, and agave necessary to make tequila.
Michigan is home to 9 species of bat, including the endangered Indiana bat. These bats play an important role in controlling local insect population. Their value in controlling agricultural pests is increasingly being appreciated as a part of integrated pest management strategies. Conserving these species is especially important with the threat of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus spreading to colonies across the country. Most recent research about the prevalence of this disease in Michigan can be found in our resources section along with the Department of Natural Resources strategy for the management.