03 Jan '12, 1pm

Green Blog: So Many Predators: How Do They Find Prey?

Richard L. Pyle When whitetip reef sharks find their prey, a frenzy breaks out as they drive the fish from hiding. Whenever I see a reef with an enormous abundance of large predators, I always wonder, where does the food come from? In a typical community, the plants and other “primary producers” represent the largest biomass, followed by the herbivores, then various tiers of predators, each level in the hierarchy having successively lower total biomass in the system. In a few cases, however, this “pyramid” of decreasing biomass can seem to be inverted. For example, there are reefs in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where huge aggregations of top predators like Galapagos sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis) and Giant Trevally (Caranx ignobilis) appear to represent far greater biomass than the smaller reef fishes and invertebrates these predators feed upon. In theory,...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/a-choreographic...

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