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Introduction

  • Ecological Pyramids are graphical representation of structure & function of ecosystem at trophic levels.
  • First described by Charles Elton, hence, also called Elton Pyramids.
  • Show relative amounts of parameters like number, energy, biomass etc. across trophic levels.
  • First trophic level/Producer forms the base.
  • Successive trophic levels are represented by tiers above the base.

1) Pyramids of Number:

  • Represent number of individual organisms per unit area at each trophic level.
  • It can be either upright (Figure 1) or inverted (Figure 2), depending on type of ecosystem.
Figure 1 & 2 : Pyramids of Number

2) Pyramids of Biomass:

  • Represent amount of energy converted into living tissue at different trophic levels.
  • It can also be either upright (Figure 3) or inverted (Figure 4), depending on type of ecosystem.
Figure 3 & 4 : Pyramids of Biomass

3) Pyramid of Energy:

  • Represent energy flow through trophic levels (Figure 5).
  • Always upright.
  • An ecosystem without sufficient primary productivity cannot be supported.
Figure 5 : Pyramid of Energy

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