Mite extinctions are occurring at least 1,000 times the ‘natural’ rate – a finding a University of Queensland researcher says is another warning that global biodiversity is in deep trouble.
The 1.25 million mite species around the planet occupy an enormous variety of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, from the equator, to polar regions and high altitude areas.
In the first global study on mite biodiversity, UQ’s Dr Greg Sullivan and colleague Dr Sebahat K. Ozman-Sullivan compiled data that showed the ongoing extinction of an alarming number of species.
“Mites are critical to ecosystems all over the planet – some provide essential ecosystem services such as the incorporation of organic matter into the soil,” Dr Sullivan said.
“These services underpin the survival of innumerable species, and act as a proxy for environmental health.
“However, the humble mite is in trouble, as the majority of mite species are assumed to be in the tropical rainforests, where 50 per cent have been destroyed or severely degraded,” he said.
“And based on estimates of overall biodiversity loss, around 15 per cent of mite species were likely to have become extinct by 2000.
“Losses are currently expected to increase by between 0.6 per cent and six per cent by 2060.”
The researchers said humans are responsible for the erosion of mite diversity.
“Habitat destruction and degradation continue on an enormous scale, with increasing global population and resource consumption the overarching drivers of extinction,” Dr Sullivan said.
“The maintenance of mite biodiversity is highly dependent on the maintenance of plant diversity, habitat complexity and insect diversity.
“This means we urgently need to minimise the rate of destruction and degradation of habitat, especially in subtropical and tropical regions, and protect representative natural areas, especially the global biodiversity hotspots, like the Forests of East Australia biodiversity hotspot.”
In addition, he said climate change was likely worsening the effects of the other drivers at an increasing rate.
“We need a rapid global implementation of technologies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration, including the widespread regeneration of degraded forests with local species.
“This, coupled with an effectively executed international climate agreement, will play a critical role in determining the fate of a substantial proportion of the remaining global biodiversity – including the small, but mighty, mite.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Global need for copper is pitting clean energy against the wildernesson September 5, 2020 at 7:26 am
The world's transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles will require unprecedented amounts of copper from potentially new mining operations that may harm vulnerable species and ecosystems.
- A “Global Safety Net” to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize Earth’s climateon September 4, 2020 at 5:33 pm
Global strategies to halt the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change are often formulated separately, even though they are interdependent and risk failure if pursued in isolation. The ...
- How do we avert global warming, extinctions and pandemics? New app has answerson September 4, 2020 at 3:30 pm
As the world heads towards 2021 with COVID-19 still raging overhead, it might be easy to forget about the other global crises. But a new app, debuted today, aims to light the way to a brighter future, ...
- Cosmetics Brands Leading Big Shift on Biodiversityon September 3, 2020 at 6:51 pm
A new report reveals the top 10 lessons learned by a group of more than 50 leaders in the cosmetics, food and personal care industries that source with respect for people and biodiversity.
- Global Shipping’s Moral Authority Plunges In Mauritius As Pope Intervenes In Wakashio Sagaon September 3, 2020 at 12:49 pm
The Pope now intervenes in Mauritius Wakashio oil spill amid inaction from global shipping industry and fears of a cover up. G20 leaders being called on for a moral intervention in the global shipping ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- 15 Organizations and Initiatives Helping to Save the Beeson September 5, 2020 at 1:13 am
But people around the world are working to create an environment that helps bees thrive. In honor of National Honey Month, Food Tank is highlighting 15 organizations and initiatives working to ...
- Join Jerry to Bee All You Can Beeon September 4, 2020 at 7:52 pm
One of your neighbors posted in Arts & Entertainment. Click through to read what they have to say. (The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.) ...
- The true size of the ancient shark megalodon revealed for the First Time by Researcherson September 4, 2020 at 5:13 am
For the first time, UK researchers have released how big they think the size of prehistoric mega-shark megalodon truly was. The results are shocking. There is a grim fascination in determining the ...
- Op-Ed: What's killing the world's mites? Extinctions spiking rapidlyon September 3, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Mites are found from pole to pole. They’re key elements in ecological processes, and their extinctions are escalating due to habitat loss at “1,000 times the natural rate”, according to the University ...
- Jurassic Quest roars into Philadelphiaon September 3, 2020 at 6:08 am
If you’re tired of being stuck in the house with your kids, there’s a unique exhibit for all dinosaur lovers that will soon be stomping through Pennsylvania. “Jurassic Quest” is set to roar it’s way ...