Example of an ecological pyramid
Introduction (what they are)
Getting food is the same as getting energy to stay alive and perform the most diverse biological functions. All living things are part of some food chain. Ecological pyramids are representations of the energy flow that happens in all food chains.
A food chain is made up of primary producers and consumers. Consumers are divided into:
- Primary Carnivores
- Secondary Carnivores
Producer and consumer categories represent trophic levels in food chains and ecological pyramids.
Imagine a pyramid, no matter the shape of the base. From the base, divide the pyramid into four sections of the same size. The section near the base is wider and the closer we get to the apex of the pyramid, the narrower the sections.
Each of the sections is a trophic level. At the base (primary producer level) there is a lot of energy. The amount of initial energy is lost as part of it is transferred between levels. When it reaches the highest level (that of secondary consumers), the amount of energy is the lowest. This is less than any available at levels below it.
Why is it important to learn about green pyramids?
Ecological pyramids teach that humans are an element within a food chain that involves agriculture and the raising of animals for consumption. These economic activities were created by humans. The practices that are used in them interfere with the natural ecological pyramids, those that exist even before the emergence of the human species.
Knowing the reasons for energy losses in transferring it from one trophic level to another helps to create ways to increase the efficiency of energy transfer.
Raymond Lindeman was an American scholar of the dynamism of energy in ecosystems. In 1942 he sent a manuscript to be published in the famous journal Ecology. In this paper he presented the concept of ecological pyramids. Unfortunately, Lindeman passed away before seeing his article published.