There will be several consequences to the current decrease in insect population sizes. Some of these consequences are obvious, but others are more obscure and hard to see coming. Not long ago Germany made international news after researchers in the country discovered that nearly two thirds of insects within a national park had disappeared. Since then, several other researchers from nations all over the world have also reported similar population decreases among their native insect populations. Given the clear evidence, it seems that insect populations are decreasing dramatically all over the world. Many experts worry that some insects may have already become extinct. This is a concern among researchers as some insects may be lost forever without ever having been properly understood by scientists. When it comes to the current decrease in insects around the world, most experts worry about the undesirable economic threats that may result from this troubling trend. However, creating a detailed map of insect diversity around the world can also be undermined by the current insect population crisis. This is why researchers have recently developed a state-of-the-art scanning device that rapidly indexes different insect species that are already being kept in museum collections. This technology will allow researchers to track down particular insects that may become extinct in the future.
The scanner, which was created by TU Darmstadt and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, is able to digitally archive individual insects in high-resolution 3-D. In recent years, some regions of the world that contain protected areas, such as national parks and preserves, have seen a seventy five percent drop in native insect species. Therefore, scientists may now have to turn to museum collections in order to study particular insects that are now difficult to locate in the wild. Of course, even preserved insects have a shelf-life, as natural decay will eventually render specimens worthless to researchers. However, the current scanner device can digitize every feature of an insect, and these digitized versions will last forever. The developers are planning to make the 3-D database of all insects available to the public online.
Do you think that you would ever use such a database for your own purposes, like identifying an insect that you find, for example?