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Question

Define ecological pyramids and describe with examples, pyramids of number and biomass.

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Solution

Ecological pyramids are graphical representations of the relationship between organisms of different trophic levels that can be expressed in terms of number, biomass or energy.
In most ecosystems, the pyramid of number is upright, i.e., producers are more in number than the herbivores and herbivores are more in number than the carnivores. But, the pyramid may be inverted as in a forest ecosystem, where the number of insects (primary consumers) is greater than the number of trees (producers).
The pyramid of biomass is also upright, generally, as the biomass of producers is more than the biomass of herbivores and that of herbivores is more than the biomass of carnivores. But, it is inverted in many ecosystems like in sea ecosystem, where the biomass of fishes (primary consumers) far exceeds that of phytoplankton (producers).


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