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If the TV series “Dirty Jobs” covered animals as well as humans, it would probably start with dung beetles. These hardworking critters are among the insect world’s most important recyclers. They eat and bury manure from many other species, recycling nutrients and improving soil as they go.

Dung beetles are found on every continent except Antarctica, in forests, grasslands, prairies and deserts. And now, like many other species, they are coping with the effects of climate change.

Kimberly Sheldon, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has spent nearly 20 years studying dung beetles. She shares her research—which spans tropical and temperate ecosystems and focuses on how these beneficial animals respond to temperature changes—with The Conversation. Read the full article.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through the partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.



Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,