We often get asked, why? Why study insects? Even other scientists who agree that insects are interesting don’t necessarily think that insects may have important effects in ecosystems compared to bigger animals. Angela and I were at a grassland meeting together, and, over lunch, a well-respected professor laughed at us when we were discussing a future experiment looking at how important grasshoppers were to grasslands at our field site. You’re talking about a bug on a leaf!, he crooned, while laughing hysterically.
So why? Other than the fact that we personally love insects, insects have very important roles in ecosystems, and believe it or not, to human society and well-being. Science has shown this. We got a paper that will soon be published reviewing this subject (well post about it soon!). E. O. Wilson, a famous ecologist, and insect lover wrote an article entitled The little things that run the world where he claimed that humans would not survive more than a few months if all insects were removed from the Earth overnight. Luckily, we’ll never know if this is true. But, we know that they’re extremely important to humans in many ways.
We’ll use this blog to highlight the ways that insects affect us humans (both positively and negatively!). Selfishly, this is also a place for us to keep these examples documented for our teaching and research purposes. We hope that you get something out of this. Feel free to contact us to share your experiences (or examples we might not be aware of) regarding how insects affect you!