Ecological Pyramid - 88tuition

Ecological Pyramid - 88tuition



Ecological pyramid is a fundamental concept in ecology that helps us understand the structure and functioning of ecosystems. It is a Graphical representation of the structure and function of an ecosystem, or the feeding relationships, of organisms in an ecosystem. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of ecological pyramids, including their types, components, and applications.

Types of Ecological Pyramids

Three types of ecological pyramid can be seen which are: the pyramid of numbers, the pyramid of biomass, and the pyramid of energy.

  • Pyramid of Numbers

The pyramid of numbers tells the number of individuals at each trophic level of an ecosystem. It depicts the link between the number of organisms at each level, from the lowest producers to the highest consumers.  In some cases, the pyramid of numbers may be inverted, indicating a larger number of individuals at higher trophic levels.

  • Pyramid of Biomass

The total dry weight of all the organisms at each trophic level is shown by the pyramid of biomass. It shows the relationship between the amount of living matter at each level, from the producers at the base to the top-level consumers. The pyramid of biomass is typically pyramid-shaped, with the greatest biomass at the base and decreasing amounts at higher trophic levels.

  • Pyramid of Energy

It shows the relationship between the amount of energy available at each trophic level, from the producers at the base to the top-level consumers. The pyramid of energy is always pyramid-shaped, with the greatest amount of energy at the base and decreasing amounts at higher trophic levels.

Components of Ecological Pyramids

There are  four trophic levels in the ecological pyramid which are :

I. Producers

Producers are organisms that produce their food through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. They form the base of the ecological pyramid, as they are the primary source of energy for all other organisms in the ecosystem. Examples of producers include green plants, algae, and some bacteria.


During photosynthesis, producers take in carbon dioxide and water and use the energy from the sun to create glucose and oxygen using chlorophyll. The glucose is then used by the plant for energy or to create other organic compounds, while the oxygen is released into the atmosphere as a by-product.


Chemosynthesis is the process by which some bacteria use energy from the oxidation of inorganic substances to synthesize organic compounds. This process is found in environments such as deep sea vents and hot springs, where there is no sunlight for photosynthesis.

II. Primary Consumers

Primary consumers are creatures that devour producers to get nourishment. Herbivores are another name for them. Cows, mice, and insects are examples of consumers.


Herbivores are animals that eat only plants or plant products. They can break down the cellulose in plant cell walls to access the nutrients within. Herbivores play an important role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems by controlling the growth of plant populations.


Omnivores are animals that eat both plants and animals. They can digest both plant and animal matter and are therefore able to utilize a wider range of food sources than herbivores.

III. Secondary Consumers

Organisms that feed on main consumers are known as secondary consumers. They are also referred to as carnivores. Lions, snakes, and hawks are examples of secondary consumers.


Carnivores are animals that feed on other animals. They can break down the proteins and other nutrients in animal tissue to access the energy within.

Apex Predators

Apex predators are at the top of the food chain and do not feed on other animals. They play a crucial function in the population control of other creatures in the environment.

IV. Tertiary Consumers

Tertiary consumers are organisms that feed on secondary consumers. They are also known as top predators. Examples of tertiary consumers include eagles, sharks, and tigers.

Ecological pyramid 

Applications of Ecological Pyramids

Ecological pyramids have several applications in ecology and environmental science.

A. Biomass Pyramids

The relative amount of biomass at each trophic level in an ecosystem is termed a Biomass pyramid. This information can be used to study the energy flow and nutrient cycling within the ecosystem.

B. Energy Pyramids

The relative amount of energy at each trophic level in an ecosystem is shown by Energy pyramids. This information can be used to study the energy flow and nutrient cycling within the ecosystem.

Energy pyramid

 C. Trophic Levels

Trophic levels relate to the many levels of the food chain, beginning with producers at the bottom and ending with apex predators at the top. By understanding the different trophic levels, scientists can study the relationships between organisms and how energy flows through the ecosystem.

D. Ecological Succession

Ecological succession refers to the process by which an ecosystem changes over time. Ecological pyramids can be used to study how energy and nutrients flow through an ecosystem during different stages of succession.

E. Conservation Biology

Ecological pyramids can also be used to investigate the effects of human actions such as deforestation and habitat degradation on ecosystems. By understanding the structure and function of ecological pyramids, conservation biologists can develop strategies to protect and restore biodiversity.


Finally, the ecological pyramid is an important tool for comprehending the hierarchy of life as well as the movement of energy and nutrients within an ecosystem. It contributes to the maintenance of ecological balance and is critical to the conservation of biodiversity. By understanding the different types of ecological pyramids, we can better understand the functioning of an ecosystem and how it is affected by human activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the significance of the law of energy transfer in an ecosystem?

The law of energy transfer is significant because it explains how energy flows through an ecosystem, and it helps us understand the interconnectedness of living organisms in an ecosystem. It also helps us understand the importance of maintaining a balance in the ecosystem, as any disturbance to one part of the ecosystem can have ripple effects throughout the entire system.

2. What are the consequences of losing biodiversity?

The loss of biodiversity can have severe consequences for ecosystems and the services they provide, including decreased food and water security, increased disease transmission, and decreased resilience to climate change.

3. Give the importance of decomposers.

They break down dead organic matter into simpler compounds, which are then recycled back into the ecosystem, providing nutrients for the producers.