Many of earth’s animals possess bacteria that reside within their bodies. Most animals, including humans, have a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria living within their gut. In these cases animals require the proper amount of bacteria living inside of them for their own survival. The bacteria living within organisms often helps drive different aspects of survival, including proper growth. Therefore, if the bacteria living inside of a particular animal should become compromised, the host-animal will also be affected. For example, humans possess healthy bacteria within their gut, which play a role in a wide range of digestive functions. Having too much or too little bacteria living within your own gut can lead to many different types of diseases. A recent study has unveiled the dire consequences facing insects if their internal bacterium does not function in accordance with the insect’s physiological needs.
A recent study headed up by Dr. Takema Fukatsu demonstrated that organisms dependent on bacteria living inside of their gut can live or die depending on the temperatures that the bacteria are exposed to. Dr Fukatsu used a type of stinkbug as an example of this phenomenon by rearing the stinkbug in an incubator that was controlled to be two and a half degrees Celsius higher than the outside environment. Consequently, many of the stinkbugs did not grow properly and they would likely die quickly if they were introduced to the outside environment. If the earth’s temperature should increase by 2.5 degrees Celsius, as the experts are predicting, then many of earth’s insects will likely die. As a result of the mass insect deaths, our ecosystem would become radically altered, possibly to the point where humans themselves would find survival on this planet to be a struggle.
What are a few negative consequences that humans could expect if half of all of earth’s insects died? Would humans be able to survive if, for example, bees became extinct?