Which of the five biological kingdoms - animalia, protista, plantera, monera, or fungi - has the largest biomass?

To clarify, if the biomass of every species in each of these kingdoms was added up, which kingdom would have the greatest sum?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A really clear, well defined question with great biological significance. In a silly way, this number can help us quantify which is "winning"! Welcome to Bio.SE! $\endgroup$
    – James
    May 17, 2016 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ Please note that the 5 kingdoms you list are NOT monophyletic groups. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    May 20, 2016 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Probably Eukaryotes. Specifically, plants.

This is a very fundamental question of life that is often overlooked. It goes without saying that plants and animals are the strongest contenders. However bacteria may also rival them. Be aware though that this is a contentious claim given more thorough estimations that take into account fluctuations in bacterial presence. This EMBO Reports science and society article claims that plants account for 99% of Eukaryotic biomass.

For further reading the Wikipedia page on biomass doesn't seem too shabby for more details on tonnage and methods of calculation.

The most numerous organisms could possibly be viruses or bacteriophages depending on if you count viruses as "living".


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