Pyramid of Biomass: Definition, Example & FAQs

Biomass pyramids are a visual representation of the biomass present in a unit of the territory of different trophic levels. Additionally, it displays a link between biomass and trophic level, estimating the biomass available in each ecological degree at a given moment.

There are two primary kinds of biomass pyramid – the altered biomass pyramid and the upright biomass pyramid. A valid case of the rearranged biomass pyramid can be found in a lake biological system. In this system, the mass of phytoplankton, the primary producers, will always than the mass of heterotrophs like fish and creepy crawlies.

Increasingly, the pyramid takes on an upset shape with tertiary shoppers showing up at the top in biomass.

Biomass pyramids
Biomass pyramids

What is biomass?

In natural terms, biomass alludes to the complete mass of all living or natural entities that possess a biological system at some random point in time. There are two main types of biomass:

  1. Species Biomass
  2. Community Biomass

Species biomass is the absolute mass of species in a biological system. Network biomass, on the other hand, is the total mass of the considerable number of species that see the predefined network as their territory. The species can include both people and microorganisms when estimating biomass.

The strategy utilized in estimating biomass depends on the purpose for which it is being estimated. In order to compute biomass, you need to know the mass of living beings in their regular state and their characteristic territory. Let’s assume you need to compute the biomass in a fishery, for instance:

The total biomass should be the biomass of the fish while they are still wet after you remove them from the water. On the other hand, if the dried mass of the fish is taken, it would represent 30 percent of their real mass. This is on the grounds that the remainder of the mass will be water. Estimation of biomass as a function of dry weight becomes increasingly precise.

In some instances, the mass would just consist of organic tissues. Such as tooth density, bone density, or shell mass, wouldn’t be considered. This case applies where you need to quantify just the carbon present in the body.

Biomass is an outflow of mass per unit area. Therefore, the units of measurement are grams per square meter or tons per square kilometer.

Instances of Biomass Pyramid

We have a rearranged biomass pyramid and an upright pyramid. Examples of the typical biomass pyramid include:

Mice eat grass seeds and an owl eats the mice. Furthermore, grass has the best biomass in this chain. Its biomass, thus, sits at the base of the pyramid. Then again, the owl has the most reduced biomass in the chain and therefore sits over the pyramid.

A caterpillar benefits from an oak tree. Thus a blue tit eats a caterpillar, and a sparrowhawk eats the caterpillar. The oak tree sits at the base of the biomass pyramid because it can support many caterpillars, because of its gigantic biomass. The sparrowhawk occupies the highest level of the pyramid.

This model is most suitable for the lake environment because of the transformed pyramid. The mass of phytoplankton, the principal makers of the environment, is not as much as that of the consumers. They are for the most part fish and other creepy insects.

The Significance of The Pyramid of Biomass

A biomass pyramid is useful for quantifying the biomass that is available as a result of organisms at every trophic level. This pyramid begins with the producer, in this case, the plants, which occupy the bottom level of the pyramid. Producers are followed by primary consumers.

The highest quantified amount of biomass sits at the very top of the pyramid. This level mainly consists of carnivores. Note that we are talking about an upright pyramid here.

Virtually all of the world’s ecosystems and biomes are represented by an upright biomass pyramid. In an upright pyramid ecosystem, the total weight of the producers is more than the total weight of the consumers. However, the inverted pyramid of biomass is the complete opposite. Namely, the combined weight of the producers is less than the combined weight of the consumers.

The manner in which the biomass pyramid is represented is based on the law of thermodynamics. This law states that energy can never be destroyed. It can’t be created either. It can only be transformed from one form into another. Namely, the energy is transferred through the chain from producers to consumers and so on, and converted to biomass.

The Major Limitation of a Biomass Pyramid

One of the main limitations of a biomass pyramid is that every trophic level seems to have more energy than it truly does.

A good example to illustrate this is when humans eat another animal. The mass of the animal’s bones is calculated. However, the mass of the bones is not actually necessary in the next level of this pyramid.

A biomass pyramid counts mass that is not actually transmitted to the next trophic level. Yet, a pyramid of biomass remains one of the best ways to determine if there is an imbalance in an ecosystem.

Examples of a Biomass Pyramid

Keep in mind that we have an inverted biomass pyramid and an upright one. Examples of a typical biomass pyramid include:

  • Mice eat grass seeds. The mice are then eaten by the owl. The grass has the greatest biomass in this chain. Its biomass, therefore, sits at the bottom of the pyramid. Conversely, the owl has the lowest biomass in the chain and hence sits on top of the pyramid.
  • A caterpillar feeds on an oak tree. A caterpillar is in turn eaten by a blue tit, which is eaten by a sparrowhawk. The oak tree sits at the bottom of the biomass pyramid as it can feed dozens of caterpillars, thanks to its massive biomass. The sparrowhawk occupies the highest level of the pyramid.

In the case of an inverted pyramid, the most obvious example is the pond ecosystem. The mass of phytoplankton, the main producers of the ecosystem, is less than that of the consumers, which are generally fish and other insects.


Q: The pyramid of numbers is inverted in the case of?

A: parasitic food chain

Leave a Comment