What Is A Bio-pyramid And How Is It Used In The Food Chain?


One way to classify organisms is to put them into their hierarchy in the food chain. In this way, we can see how animals and other organisms relate to each other based on what they consume.

Bio pyramid is an important and useful tool to look at the food chain. It’s a graphical chart that shows the comparative mass of the consumers to the producers in the food chain. It is an important tool when looking at the laws of conservation of energy among different classes of organisms.


Each level in a bio pyramid is composed of a trophic level. Trophic levels are groupings of different consumer groups, from plants or other photosynthetic organisms, rising all the way up to to the humans. A bio pyramid shows these groups in order of total mass from highest to lowest. This often means that the primary consumers are at the bottom because they are more numerous and take up more mass. The levels are built upon by how many upper level organisms could survive based on the level below. An example can be seen in this sea bio pyramid:

Here is one practical example. It would take 1,000,000 kg of phytoplankton to feed 100,000 kg of zooplankton, which is used to feed 10,000 kg of shrimp, to finally feed 1,000 kg of large fish. The final level would only be able to have 100 kg of shark supported.

A bio pyramid shows the inefficiency of the food chain, and if we could skip a level, more energy would be conserved and the food chain would lose less energy along the way.

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