An absolutely remarkable new study claims that global warming and climate change could kill off a third of all parasites.
A rather incredible new study from researchers at the University of California has found that climate change could wipe out a third of all parasitic species on Earth by the end of 2070, which would be in many people’s lifetimes. Climate change would destroy parasites like tapeworms, ticks, lice, and fleas, which might sound like a good thing but could upset the balance of the ecosystem in ways we don’t realize.
The study, which took a year and involved analyzing 20 million parasites at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History, indicates that parasites may be the most threatened creature on Earth when it comes to climate change. It’ll be tough to communicate to the public why that’s a bad thing, but there’s no question that it will lead to major problems for the planet.
The removal of such a large number of organisms will cause a tremendous upheaval in the balance of the ecosystem. We may not fully understand how just yet, but rest assured that is what will happen, scientists warn.
“The Earth’s changing climate could cause the extinction of up to a third of its parasite species by 2070, according to a global analysis reported Sept. 6 in the journal Science Advances,” the Smithsonian statement reads. “Parasite loss could dramatically disrupt ecosystems, and the new study suggests that they are one of the most threatened groups of life on Earth.
“Parasites have an admittedly bad reputation. The diverse group of organisms includes tapeworms, roundworms, ticks, lice, fleas and other pests–most of which are best known for causing disease in humans, livestock and other animals. But parasites play important roles in ecosystems. They help control wildlife populations and keep energy flowing through food chains.”