Mosquitoes: just how much biodiversity does humanity need?

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
466,
Page:
1041
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/4661041d
Published online

If a world without mosquitoes (Nature 466, 432–434; 2010) would be better for humanity and inflict no more than “collateral damage” on ecosystems, then what else might we reasonably eliminate from the face of the planet — deadly snakes, plague locusts?

Never mind that the collateral damage of eradicating mosquitoes might include the loss of a group of pollinators and a primary food source for many species. Perhaps another organism will come along to fill the niche eventually — assuming that organisms are replaceable and interchangeable.

In which case, ecologists have to ask what minimum level of biodiversity is required for functional provision of ecosystem services to sustain humanity.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. GenØk Centre for Biosafety, Forskningsparken i Breivika, PO Box 6418, 9294 Tromsø, Norway
    fern.wickson@uit.no

    • Fern Wickson

Author details

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