Biodiversity Scientist Warns: “We’re Sleepwalking into a Mass Extinction”

Diversity "can be damaged in the blink of an eye."

Biodiversity Scientist Warns 1Most scientists acknowledge that we are smack in the middle of the planet’s sixth great mass extinction. What they’re trying to do now is understand it, in hopes that we can stop the mechanisms that are bringing so many species to their bitter end.

On Wednesday, scientists publishing in Communications Biology characterize one of the most robust drivers of the current wave of extinction — which is, unfortunately, one that’s also extremely difficult to correct.

The problem, the University of Bath researchers write, is that we’re losing biodiversity at an alarming rate.

Biodiversity refers to the rich variation in species that live on the planet. Since all of Earth’s species are interconnected in intricate food chains, knocking out one species often means wiping out many, making it all the more important that biodiversity is preserved.

“We are sleepwalking into a mass extinction of a magnitude unparalleled since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs,” said Matthew Wills, Ph.D., professor of evolutionary paleobiology at the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and co-author of the paper, in a statement released Wednesday.

By sleepwalking, he seems to be referring to the fact that we are aware of the problem but not doing anything about it.

“Diversity takes millions of years to evolve but can be damaged in the blink of an eye. We are already losing diversity that has never even been documented, so it’s vitally important to understand the mechanisms that drive evolution into new species.”

Biodiversity Scientist Warns 2
Caridea shrimp species diversity flourish in freshwater rivers and lakes, which are most endangered by climate change.

By studying the historical fluctuations of biodiversity in a subgroup of shrimp called Caridea, the researchers witnessed just how vulnerable biodiversity can be to external factors.

This subgroup (technically an infraorder) now contains hundreds of species, but many of them have disappeared over the millennia.

Using data on the location and age of caridean fossils, the team built an evolutionary tree that showed the specific locations in which biodiversity flourished and declined over the past 200 million years.

They found the parts that historically have been the most biodiverse are the relatively isolated freshwater lakes and rivers — which happen to be especially threatened by climate change.

If rising sea water disrupts these regions, they warn, the shrimp there could rapidly go extinct — and with them, all the species in the marine food chain that rely on them for sustenance.

What makes their conclusion especially compelling is that it’s based on documented patterns of extinction and diversity growth over millions of years and not just data collected from during the Anthropocene.

“We hope our work will help us to learn lessons from the last 200 million of years — a different scale to that of most ecological studies,” said lead author and University of York biologist Katie Davis, Ph.D., in a statement.

Biodiversity Scientist Warns
The last mass extinction was the one that killed nearly all the dinosaurs, around 66 million years ago.

These days, when scientists talk about the current mass extinction, they’re careful to note it’s the planet’s sixth one.

Legendary naturalist David Attenborough, for example, said in 2017 that “the damage we are inflicting on species and ecosystems is so extensive and profound that scientists now believe we are witnessing Earth’s sixth mass extinction event – the last one marked the end of the dinosaurs.”

By doing so they acknowledge that Earth’s history has seen such tragedies before and that we can look to historical patterns to understand what is happening now.

Studies on ancient extinctions have shown that extremely high carbon emissions are associated with widespread death, and, relatedly, so are holes in the ozone. The destruction of animal habitats by human hands is also, obviously, another driver of species death.

While it may seem alarmist to talk about the current state of the natural world in such apocalyptic terms, some scientist think that doing so is absolutely necessary.

In an interview with the Guardian in 2017, Gerardo Ceballos, a biology professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, who published a paper on the ongoing “biological annihilation,” said that the world’s situation “has become so bad it would not be ethical not to use strong language.”

Sourceinverse

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

US Bombings in Afghanistan Hit Five-Year High in August

Even before President Trump made his late-August speech announcing the escalation of the Afghan War, the war has been dramatically escalating by several metrics. Tuesday,...

The Plan to Kill the Internet Uncovered

10 ways web freedom is being butchered worldwide. The Internet has emerged as the most empowering tool of individual freedom since the Gutenberg’s press, affording...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Clinton’s Presidency – Global Influence From the Rothschild

Although it may come as a shock, more details have now been revealed by Wikileaks regarding Clinton's candidacy for president. It's been a while since...

Ecuador Set To Sell One Third Of Pristine Rainforest To Chinese Oil Companies

In a move that could simultaneously ease the debt of Ecuador and deliver a huge blow to rainforest conservation efforts, Ecuador is set to...

France: Landmark Climate Bill!

France Approves Long-Awaited Landmark Climate Bill The French government has approved its long-awaited energy bill, clearing the way for it to go before Parliament this...

COULD “MAGIC” MUSHROOMS BE USED TO TREAT ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION?

In the 1960s and early 70s, researchers such as Harvard’s Timothy Leary enthusiastically promoted the study of so-called “magic” mushrooms (formally known as psilocybin mushrooms) and championed their...

Individual Responsibility – A Spiritual Perspective

Individual Responsibility - A Spiritual Perspective —by Peter Russell If you went along to your doctor because of a bad stomach pain, and all the...

CIA Created ISIS — Assange Drops Bombshell on WikiLeaks Release of 500K US Cables

The founder of the transparency organization WikiLeaks released over 500,000 diplomatic cables dating back to 1979, which succinctly reveals how the CIA was essentially...

Study Finds Over 24,000 Chemicals In Bottled Water

Which Ones of these Chemicals, Are Harming You? Tap water is by no means something to reach for when looking to achieve optimal health. But...