Diversity and Bio-Nightmares

Gregory Sullivan (sullivan@blaze.cs.jhu.edu)
Mon, 16 Feb 1998 21:44:02 -0500 (EST)

There is a new science fiction novel that touches on the subject of a
radical reduction in ecological diversity and its potential consequences.
The novel is Dust by Charles Pellegrino and it is reviewed here:

Begin review excerpt:

The story is based on a deceptively simple question--what would happen if
all the insects in the world began to die?

The demise of whole insect populations removes essential functions such as
pollination, fungal control and organic decay. While rivers choke with
rotting carcasses, crops wither from lack of pollination and uncontrolled
fungal growth. Eventually scientists conclude that humanity's last chance
may be to re-introduce insects by cloning the only ones now
available--those preserved in amber from prehistoric times. But time is
running out, and Homo sapiens may be next on the list of extinct species.

End review excerpt