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 obsession with economic growth will increase risk of deadly pandemics in futureon March 5, 2021 at 8:02 am
By continuing to privilege economic growth over environmental and social sustainability, we are taking huge risks with our future.
- GLOBALink | UN official applauds China's contribution to global biodiversity agendaon March 4, 2021 at 4:04 am
In a time whereby over a million species are on the verge of extinction, China has made a contribution to the global biodiversity agenda. Check this video to find out more about the UN official's ...
- EU Commission seeks global coalition to protect biodiversityon March 3, 2021 at 7:18 am
On the occasion of the World Wildlife Day, the European Commission reiterated its invitation on March 3 to all world institutions to raise their voices to build the momentum for nature and help convin ...
- Unique study pinpoints key places to stem biodiversity loss in Canada’s southon March 3, 2021 at 5:10 am
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has released the first comprehensive look at where nature in southern Canada needs to be protected in the face of habitat loss and climate change. The assessment ...
- E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Elects New Board Members, Adds Staff To Advance Plan To Safeguard Global Biodiversityon February 23, 2021 at 1:30 pm
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation has announced the election of four new members to its Board of Directors including; Caryl Hart, ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade: The battle to rescue cheetahs from the deadly pet trade in the Horn of Africaon March 3, 2021 at 2:43 pm
On World Wildlife Day, Daisy Dunne speaks to a veterinary surgeon caring for cheetah cubs confiscated from smugglers in Somaliland ...
- Mating mites caught in sex switch-upon February 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm
In a paper published March 1 in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers at the University of Michigan and the Russian Academy of Sciences describe an extinct mite species in ...
- Soil mite communities (Acari: Mesostigmata) as indicators of urban ecosystems in Bucharest, Romaniaon February 15, 2021 at 3:06 am
In order to highlight the response of the soil mite communities to the urban conditions, Shannon, dominance, equitability and soil maturity indices were quantified.
- Newly discovered nano-chameleon is smallest reptile on Earthon February 10, 2021 at 10:52 am
Researchers found that it hunts for mites on the rainforest floor and ... Madagascar that makes their existence threatened by extinction. Oliver Hawlitschek, a scientist at the Center of Natural ...
- Researchers find 'smallest reptile on earth' in Madagascaron February 5, 2021 at 7:18 am
"The new chameleon is only known from a degraded montane rainforest in northern Madagascar and might be threatened by extinction," said ... found that it hunts for mites on the rainforest floor ...