“Nature is under siege,” declares the introductory article of the PNAS Special Feature on “The Global Decline of Insects in the Anthropocene.” In an era of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels, intense industrial agriculture, and increasing urbanization, it is no surprise that according to a 2019 United Nations report, around 1 million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction. Half of those threatened are insects.

The PNAS Special Feature offers a collection of 12 original articles including original research, literature reviews, and perspective pieces by entomologists on the alarming phenomenon of global insect decline. …

Image by Thomas Bonometti from Unsplash

It was not that long ago when Western society largely demonized and persecuted animal predators. As recently as 1965, bounty programs in the United States encouraged the killing of wolves and other large predators, offering rewards of $20 to $50 per pelt. In those days, predators were considered a nuisance to ranchers and competition to hunters. Prominent conservationists supported eradication efforts, and even ecologists at the time considered predators largely unimportant to stable ecosystem functioning.

Now the West recognizes the vital role predators play in nature. Predators serve as bulwarks against overconsumption and overpopulation, and their very presence can shape…

Ever since second grade, Sarah Boyer knew she would return to Disney World one day. “I told everyone as soon as I declared a major in Zoology my dream job would be to work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” she tells me over a Zoom call from her Orlando apartment. Sarah is an Animal Behavior Professional Intern at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as a friend from college who for the longest time dreamt of pursuing her passion at a Disney park. “I felt like that was such a big goal and a big dream to have and something fun to…

Jared Dyer

Entomology Master's student | Science Writer & Fiction Author | Writes about animals, nature, & the people who study them

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