Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trophic tally

Ecologists from the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea calculated the trophic level of numerous species based on the amount of energy it takes to make them food. At the bottom of the scale are plants and algae which get their energy from the sun. At the top are the meat-eaters that don't have any predators, including polar bears and orcas. In between are herbivores (rabbits, cows, deer), omnivores (eaters of plants and herbivores, like us), and the rest of the carnivores. They analyzed the food supply for 176 countries from 1961 to 2009 and found that, although our meat consumption has been rising for decades with economic development in India and China, people get an average of 80% of their daily calories from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Lead author Sylvain Bonhommeau remarks, "We are closer to herbivore than carnivore. It changes the preconception of being top predator." Their careful analysis found that in the food chain we humans rank between pigs and anchovies (IMAGE ABOVE).

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