Popular Science

You don’t actually want these parasites to go extinct

Climate change won't just impact charismatic critters.
Parasite of human body

It's not the paradise you might expect

Deposit photos

Humans might fantasize about a world without ticks, fleas or giant kidney worms. But parasites connect food webs and serve vital purposes in every ecosystem. And scientists aren't really sure what would happen if we lost them.

Biologist was cooking pancakes with a parasitologist friend when they started talking about the effects that climate change will have on parasites. She thought it would be impossible to track, a zoologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and 16 other scientists from eight different countries. They created a massive database of over 100,000 kinds of parasites, then whittled down their study to around 50,000 species. By tracking how these blood-suckers, stomach-dwellers and kidney-eaters are moving and disappearing as the climate changes, Carlson and his team predicted how parasite populations will shift as this process continues. a third of all parasites face a risk of extinction.

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