The energy pyramid is one type of graphical representation of ecological relationships that is in the shape of a pyramid. The base must have the largest amount of biomass (shown as the widest bar) so it can support the energy requirements of the organisms at higher levels. Each higher level in the pyramid gets smaller (the bars get narrower) because only about 10% of the available energy transfers to the next level. The shape of the energy pyramid shows that there is enough biomass energy contained in the primary producers at the bottom to support the predators at the top, even though energy is lost at each level.
The image above shows the trophic (food) levels of the energy pyramid and the amount of biomass energy lost at each level traveling upward, resulting in the pyramid shape. Each level is the same height and the available energy is represented by the width of each level.
- Ecological Pyramid. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved December 11, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_pyramid