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Re: [dinosaur] Question
On Wed, Mar 29th, 2017 at 2:54 PM, "Williams, Brandon R (West Kentucky
> Hello, All, I have a question that I need help with. If anyone would answer
> it I would appreciate it. What is a predator: prey biomass ratio? How were
> these used in assessing dinosaur metabolism?
A predator:prey biomass ratio compares the number of predators to the number of
prey in an
ecosystem (or more correctly, compares their mass rather than their numbers).
If you can measure
this ratio accurately (and it's unlikely that you can for long-extinct
ecosystems), then you can make
assumptions about the metabolism of that ecosystem's predators.
If an ecosystem is to remain sustainable, its predators must not kill prey
faster than their prey can
reproduce, or their prey will become extinct and the predators will run out of
food for themselves.
Endothermic ("warm-blooded") predators need a lot more food to survive than
blooded") predators. An ecosystem with a lot of warm-blooded predators must
have fewer predators
relative to their prey numbers than an ecosystem dominated by cold-blooded
For instance, a warm-blooded mammal such as a leopard might have to kill two
antelopes a week to
keep itself fed, whereas cold-blooded reptiles such as komodo dragons or large
with similar masses to leopards) might only have to eat one large meal a month.
That means the
leopard is eating about eight times as much food. An ecosystem where pythons or
are the dominant predators could have eight times more predators than an
ecosystem where leopards
are the dominant predator, and that ecosystem could still remain sustainable in
the long term.
- [dinosaur] Question
- From: "Williams, Brandon R (West Kentucky Student)" <email@example.com>