Eating up the world's food web and the human trophic level

Type Article
Date 2013-12
Language English
Author(s) Bonhommeau SylvainORCID1, Dubroca Laurent2, Le Pape Olivier3, Barde Julien2, Kaplan David2, Chassot Emmanuel2, Nieblas Anne-Elise1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst Francais Rech Explorat MER, Unite Mixte Rech UMR Exploited Marine Ecosyst EME, F-34203 Sete, France.
2 : Inst Rech Dev, UMR EME 212, Ctr Rech Halieut Mediterraneenne & Trop, F-34203 Sete, France.
3 : INRA, UMR Agrocampus Ouest 985, Fisheries & Aquat Sci Ctr, F-35042 Rennes, France.
Source Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America (0027-8424) (Natl Acad Sciences), 2013-12 , Vol. 110 , N. 51 , P. 20617-20620
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1305827110
WOS© Times Cited 58
Keyword(s) human ecology, nutrition transition, trophic ecology
Abstract Trophic levels are critical for synthesizing species' diets, depicting energy pathways, understanding food web dynamics and ecosystem functioning, and monitoring ecosystem health. Specifically, trophic levels describe the position of species in a food web, from primary producers to apex predators (range, 1-5). Small differences in trophic level can reflect large differences in diet. Although trophic levels are among the most basic information collected for animals in ecosystems, a human trophic level (HTL) has never been defined. Here, we find a global HTL of 2.21, i.e., the trophic level of anchoveta. This value has increased with time, consistent with the global trend toward diets higher in meat. National HTLs ranging between 2.04 and 2.57 reflect a broad diversity of diet, although cluster analysis of countries with similar dietary trends reveals only five major groups. We find significant links between socio-economic and environmental indicators and global dietary trends. We demonstrate that the HTL is a synthetic index to monitor human diets and provides a baseline to compare diets between countries.
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Bonhommeau Sylvain, Dubroca Laurent, Le Pape Olivier, Barde Julien, Kaplan David, Chassot Emmanuel, Nieblas Anne-Elise (2013). Eating up the world's food web and the human trophic level. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 110(51), 20617-20620. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305827110 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00171/28190/