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Just watched the first of a new series from PBS Digital Studios and one of my favorite blogs, It’s Okay To Be Smart. Episode #1, Life By The Numbers is up on the blog and YouTube. Loved it.

Facts about Biomass on Earth

The video shifts from talking about numbers of organisms to talking about Biomass.

original image by Bistrosavage on Flickr
original image by Bistrosavage on Flickr

Biomass, in ecology, is the mass of living biological organisms in a given area or ecosystem at a given time. Biomass can refer to species biomass, which is the mass of one or more species, or to community biomass, which is the mass of all species in the community. It can include microorganisms, plants or animals.[4] The mass can be expressed as the average mass per unit area, or as the total mass in the community. [Wikipedia]

Here is a list of the facts in the video above

  • Number of humans on Earth (at the time they shot this video): 7,091,689,393.
  • There are 10 billion bats. 1 in 5 mammals on earth is a bat.
  • The African Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) is the most abundant bird species on Earth with about 10 Billion individuals.
  • 1 school of Atlantic Herring can have 4 billion fish in the space of 1 cubic mile.
  • There are 1 Quadrillion aphids (1 x 1015) on just soy bean plants in just North America.
  • The biomass of just one ant species is greater than the combined biomass of all mammals on Earth.
  • Ants make up 15% of land animal biomass on Earth.
  • Human biomass equals 287 million tons.
  • The combined biomass of one species of krill weighs 500 million tons. [for reverence, a car weighs about 2 tons]
  • Aspen forests are colonies of a single clone.
  • The heaviest single organism on earth is an aspen grove in Utah called Pando. It weighs more than 6,600 tons.
  • There is a fungus in Oregon that takes up an area of 1,600 football fields (8,556,320 square meters) and weighs more than 75 Space Shuttles (5,625,000 KG).
  • There are 3 septillion (3 x 1024) bacteria in just the stomachs of cows on Earth.
  • All the viruses in the oceans weigh as much as 75 million blue whales. That’s about 12 billion tons.
  • Those viruses would form a line 100 times the diameter of the Milky Way Galaxy. That’s 9.5 x 101500 meters or 10 million light years.


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