The next time you kill an insect, you might want to do it quickly — for the sake of the environment.
New research shows that whether an animal lives in safety or is terrorized by a predator can change the biochemical trajectory of the local ecosystem where it dies. The findings point to an expanded role for both predators and prey in their local environments, and may affect which species conservationists believe are most important to keep around. ...
For Hawlena, who once worked for Israel's national parks, the results have changed the way he sees the natural world.
"If you look around you, in pretty much every spot something at some time has died — in one place a mouse, in another a grasshopper, in another a deer," he said. "Each one of those places is going to behave totally differently from a microbial point of view. What you are seeing is the legacy of all that has died there."
Think about that next time you step on a bug.