Pyramids In Ecosystem

The pyramids in the Ecosystem are graphic representations of trophic levels showing the relationship between different organisms in an ecosystem.

Types of Pyramids in Ecosystem

There are three types of pyramids:

  • Pyramid of number
  • Pyramid of biomass
  • Pyramid of energy
Pyramid of number

A pyramid of numbers represents the number of organisms at each tropic level for example in grassland the number of grasses is more than the number of herbivores that feed on them and the number of herbivores is more than the number of carnivores.

pyramid of numbers- Pyramids In Ecosystem

Pyramid of numbers

In some instances, the pyramid of numbers may be inverted, i.e. Number of herbivores is more than primary producers observe that many caterpillars and insects feed on a single tree.

So, the number of organisms in each trophic level is considered the level of the pyramid.

Pyramid of biomass

In most terrestrial ecosystems the pyramid of biomass is shown upright but in pond ecosystems, it may be found the opposite as in the case of aquatic ecosystems the pyramid of biomass is inverted e.g. in ponds phytoplanktons are the main producers, they have very short life i.e. they are rapidly replaced by new plants, here pyramid of biomass is inverted.

pyramid of biomass, Pyramids In Ecosystem

Pyramid of Biomass – Terrestrial

Pyramid of Biomass - Marine

Pyramid of Biomass – Marine

Pyramid of energy

A pyramid of energy represents the total amount of energy at each tropic level, it is expressed in rates as kcal/unit area /unit time or cal/unit area/unit time, Energy pyramids are never found inverted.

pyramid of energy

pyramid of energy

Ecological efficiency

Ecological efficiency is the ratio between the amount of energy acquired from the lower trophic level and the amount of energy transferred from the higher tropic level. In 1942 Lindeman defined the ecological efficiencies for the 1st time and proposed a 10% rule e.g. if autotrophs produce 100 Cal, herbivores will be able to store 10 cal.

The importance of ecological pyramids: It shows the efficiency of the ecosystem and the feeding of different organisms. By monitoring the ecosystem, prevention from future damage is possible.

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