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What is an Ecological Pyramid?

An ecological pyramid is a graphical representation of the relationship between the different living organisms at different trophic levels. It was given by G.Evylen Hutchinson and Raymond Lindeman.

It can be observed that these pyramids are in the shape of actual pyramids with the base being the broadest, which is covered by the lowest trophic level, i.e., producers. The next level is occupied by the next trophic level, i.e., the primary consumers and so on.

All calculations for the construction of these sorts of ecological pyramids must take into consideration all creatures at a specific trophic level because a sample space of a few numbers or a few species will result in a high level of error.

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Types of Ecological Pyramid

There are three types of ecological pyramids. They are as follows:

Pyramid of Numbers: The number of creatures in each trophic level is regarded as a level in this form of ecological pyramid. Except in rare cases, such as the detritus food chain, where many creatures feed on a single dead plant or animal, the pyramid of numbers is normally upright.

Pyramid of Biomass: Each level in this form of ecological pyramid considers the amount of biomass produced by each trophic level. Except in oceans, where enormous numbers of zooplanktons rely on a relatively small number of phytoplanktons, the biomass pyramid is also upright.

Pyramid of Energy: The energy pyramid is the only type of ecological pyramid that is always upright since energy transfer in a food chain is unidirectional. Furthermore, as trophic levels rise, some energy is lost in the environment.

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