The importance of insects on land and in water: a tropical view
Insects provide a wide variety of ecosystem services such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and seed dispersal. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are thought to be supported by the conservation of diverse insect communities. The roles of tropical insects in ecosystem services and their contributions are summarized in this literature review. The authors identify research trends, knowledge gaps, and potential avenues for future investigations.
Conclusions and Takeaways
From a literature survey the authors find the majority of tropical insect literature to focus on herbivory, and take place in the Neotropics. Seed dispersal and pollination comprise a large portion of recent literature. In tropical freshwater ecosystems, nutrient cycling and decomposition by insect species is present but not robust. It appears as though most studies focus on one single species at a time. Long-term observational and experimental studies are lacking as well as standardization of data collection protocol. The authors note that the area of water quality and nutrient cycling needs much more attention, as does the area of cross-disciplinary projects. Insects play valuable roles in maintaining tropical biodiversity and may hold a key to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, though more research is needed to understand how that may be achieved.
The importance of insects on land and in water: a tropical view. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 2020;40:31 - 38. doi:10.1016/j.cois.2020.05.016..