pyramid of energy

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pyramid of energy A diagrammatic expression of the rates of flow of energy through the different trophic levels of an ecosystem. It reflects the rates of photosynthesis, respiration, etc. (and not the standing crop, as in the pyramid of biomass), and can never be inverted since energy is dissipated through the ecosystem. It is the most fundamental and most useful of the 3 ecological pyramids. Compare PYRAMID OF BIOMASS and PYRAMID OF NUMBERS; see also ECOLOGICAL PYRAMID.

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pyramid of energy A diagrammatic representation of the amount of energy, measured in kilojoules per square metre per year (kJ m–2 yr–1), available at ascending trophic levels of a food chain in a particular habitat (see illustration). A pyramid of energy is the most accurate representation of the energy flow through a food chain as it indicates how much energy is lost at each trophic level (through respiration, etc.). See also bomb calorimeter. Compare pyramid of biomass; pyramid of numbers.

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pyramid of energy A diagrammatic expression of the rates of flow of energy through the different trophic levels of an ecosystem. Each bar of the pyramid represents the amount of energy per unit area or volume which flows through that trophic level in a given time period. The pyramid reflects the rates of photosynthesis, respiration, etc. (and not the standing crop as in the pyramid of biomass), and can never be inverted since energy is dissipated through the ecosystem. It is the most fundamental and most useful of the three ecological pyramids. Compare PYRAMID OF NUMBERS. See also ECOLOGICAL PYRAMID.

views updated

pyramid of energy A diagrammatic expression of the rates of flow of energy through the different trophic levels of an ecosystem. It reflects the rates of photosynthesis, respiration, etc. (and not the standing crop, as in the pyramid of biomass), and can never be inverted since energy is dissipated through the ecosystem. It is the most fundamental and most useful of the three ecological pyramids. Compare pyramid of biomass and pyramid of numbers; see also ecological pyramid.