The Number of Ants Worldwide Reaches Into the Quadrillions – Rebecca Dzombak – The New York Times

“Right now, ants are scurrying around every continent except Antarctica, doing the hard work of engineering ecosystems. They spread seeds, churn up soil and speed up decomposition. They forage and hunt and get eaten. You may not know how much you rely on them.

“Ants are the movers and shakers of ecosystems,” said Nate Sanders, an ecologist at the University of Michigan. “Knowing anything about them helps us understand how ecosystems are put together and how they work.”

“I would argue most ecosystems would simply collapse without ants,” said Patrick Schultheiss, an ecologist at the University of Hong Kong. As some naturalists worry about an insect apocalypse, scientists are racing to keep track of what’s at stake. But they didn’t know how many ants there are or where they live.”

David Lindsay: This article about estimating ant populations worldwide, reminds me to ask anyone reading this, one of my new research questions.
Edward O Wilson, the famous entomologist, wrote that if we do wipe out 50% of non-human species, as we are on trajectory to do, humans will not survive, because of the complex dependencies of species in ecosystems. I am looking for research on this topic. What research is this conclusion or hypothesis based on?  My email is daljr37at gmail dot com.

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