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ECOLOGICAL PYRAMIDS. Ecological Pyramids. An ecological pyramid is a diagram that shows the relationship amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a food web or food chain.

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ECOLOGICAL PYRAMIDS

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ECOLOGICAL PYRAMIDS


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Ecological Pyramids

An ecological pyramid is a diagram that shows the relationship amounts of energy or matter contained within each trophic level in a food web or food chain.

Energy Pyramid only 10% of the energy available within one trophic level is transferred to organisms at the next trophic level.


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Pyramids Continued

  • Biomass pyramids show the total amount of living tissue available at each trophic level. This shows the amount of tissue available for the next trophic level.

  • Numbers pyramid shows the number of species at each trophic level.

  • Because each trophic level harvests only about one tenth of the energy from the level below, it can support only about one 10th the amount of living tissue.


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Feeding Relationships

  • Energy flow through an ecosystem in one direction, from the sun or inorganic compounds to autotrophs (producers) and then to various heterotrophs (consumers).

  • Food Chains are a series of steps in which organisms transfer energy by eating or being eaten.

  • Food webs show the complex interactions within an ecosystem.

  • Each step in a food chain or web is called a trophic level. Producers make up the first step, consumers make up the higher levels.


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ECOLOGICAL PYRAMIDS

Food chains and food webs do not give any information about the numbers of organisms involved.

This information can be shown through ecological pyramids.


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PYRAMID OF NUMBERS

  • Shows the number of organisms at each trophic level per unit area of an ecosystem.


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Pyramid of Numbers

Pyramid of numbers displays the number of individuals

at each level.

1 owl

25 voles

2000

grass plants


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PYRAMID OF BIOMASS

  • The total amount of matter present in organisms of an ecosystem at each trophic level is biomass.

  • Biomass is preferred to the use of numbers of organisms because individual organisms can vary in size. It is the total mass not the size that is important.

  • Pyramid of biomass records the total dry organic matter of organisms at each trophic level in a given area of an ecosystem.


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Biomass Pyramids

Displays the biomass at each trophic level.


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  • Shows the amount of energy input to each trophic level in a given area of an ecosystem over an extended period.

  • Why will this type of pyramid never be inverted?

PYRAMID OF ENERGY


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Energy Pyramid

In nature, ecological efficiency varies from 5% to 20% energy available between successive trophic levels (95% to 80% loss). About 10% efficiency is a general rule.

Fig. 4–19


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Another Energy Pyramid

Annual pyramid of energy flow (in kilocalories per square meter per year) for an aquatic ecosystem in Silver Springs, FL.

Note: More individuals can be supported at lower trophic levels. Less energy is lost.


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Cycles of Matter

  • Unlike the one-way flow of energy, matter is recycled within and between ecosystems.

  • These cycles are the water cycle, Nutrient Cycle, Carbon Cycle, nitrogen cycle and phosphorus cycle.


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