Book : Botany
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Posted by: CHELSEA
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Writer CHELSEA

Ecological Pyramid

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Introduction

The concept is often associated with descriptions of food chains and food webs (Food Chains and Food Webs in an Ecosystem, Food Chain and Food Web Book Reviews). An ecological pyramid is an illustration of the reduction in energy as you move through each feeding (trophic) level in an ecosystem. The base of the pyramid is large since the ecosystem's energy factories (the producers) are converting solar energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis. A food chain can also depict a reduction in energy at each feeding level if the arrows, drawn between the different levels, continue to be reduced in size. In any ecosystem different parameters such as number or biomass or energy can be represented by graphic method or diagram which are called ecological pyramid. Graphical representation of an ecological parameters like energy , biomass number at different tropical level in an ecosystem is called ecological pyramid.It is of three types:

Pyramid of Numbers


Pyramid of Numbers can be generated by counting all the organisms at the different feeding levels. As you might guess, this can be a very difficult task since we are not just identifying each species in the ecosystem. We are also counting how many of each species is present. On occasion, this approach will not work. For example, one tree (a producer) can represent an ecosystem and harbor numerous populations of herbivores and carnivores. Thus, the bottom of the pyramid would be very small and not flared out as depicted in the diagrams on the right.

Pyramid of Biomass


Where organisms are collected from each feeding level, dried and then weighed. This dry weight (biomass) represents the amount of organic matter (available energy) of the organisms. [Note that there are alternate, nonlethal ways to determine biomass.] While this approach will generally create a pyramid that illustrates energy flow, its use can also produce an inverted pyramid. For example, in aquatic ecosystems, phytoplankton could reproduce and then be eaten rapidly by zooplankton. Therefore, it would be possible to have few herbivores and a lot of carnivores when a collection is taken.

Pyramid of Energy


Flow tends to resolve these problems. This approach necessitates measuring the caloric value of the different organisms that make up the community. It nicely shows how energy is continually decreasing along the food chain from producers to top level carnivores.


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