What is the difference between the pyramid of numbers, pyramid of biomass and pyramid of energy?

1 Answer
Sep 29, 2016

Answer:

The names explain the purpose: pyramids are graphical representation of different aspects of ecosystem. Pyramid of energy is always upright which may not be so for pyramid of numbers or pyramid of biomass.

Explanation:

Energy pyramid depicts flow of energy in the ecosystem: source of all energy in ecosystem is the SUN. Producers are only organisms in ecosystem who can trap the solar enrgy. So base of energy pyramid is always wide.

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Now let us see a pyramid of numbers which depicts the number of individual organisms per trophic level: in an orchard producers are some large trees, but the trees will support a large number of consumers, such as insects and birds. A pyramid of numbers in such ecosystem will be inverted as seen in the following illustration:

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A biomass pyramid shows the total dry mass of all living organisms at each trophic level. An inverted pyramid of biomass could be seen when we study aquatic ecosystems, like a lake. The phytoplanktons at a given time is less in biomass but their lifecycle is very short; they actually reproduce faster than the consumers dependent on them.

http://www.drishtiias.com/upsc-exam-gs-resources-Ecological-Pyramid