Ecology

Topics: Food chain, Ecology, Trophic level Pages: 5 (1142 words) Published: May 31, 2014

BIO1014 Fundamentals of Science

Problem solving: Exercise 3 Ecology

BIO1014 Problem-Solving Exercise 3

Introduction
Pyramids of numbers and of biomass can be used to illustrate the relative mass/abundance of different trophic groups within an ecosystem. In this exercise you are first required to consider four pyramids (Pyramids 1 – 4 below) and to assign the correct groups of labels to the correct pyramid. Once you have done this you are required to justify your decisions in an ecological/energetic context.

Instructions
Below you will see four sets of trophic labels and four pyramid diagrams. Your task is to assign the correct label set to each pyramid. Not only that, but you must redraw the pyramids (keeping each bar representing a trophic level roughly the same relative size) assigning every label to the correct trophic level. Each set also contains two titles, for example set three contains ‘Lake ecosystem’ and ‘Pyramid of numbers’. These should also be applied to each pyramid correctly.

Once you have finished drawing and labelling each pyramid, justify the decisions you have made in less than 300 words, explaining why the pyramids vary in their construction based on the nature of the ecosystem concerned and the organisms within them.

Pyramid 1

Pyramid 2

Pyramid 3

Pyramid 4

Problem solving:

Pyramids of numbers and of biomass can be used to illustrate the relative mass/abundance of different trophic groups within an ecosystem. In this exercise you are first required to consider four pyramids (Pyramids 1 – 4 below) and to assign the correct groups of labels to the correct pyramid. Once you have done this you are required to justify your decisions in an ecological/energetic context.

Below you will see four sets of trophic labels and four pyramid diagrams. Your task is to assign the correct label set to each pyramid. Not only that, but you must redraw the pyramids (keeping each bar representing a trophic level roughly the same relative size) assigning every label to the correct trophic level. Each set also contains two titles, for example set three contains ‘Lake ecosystem’ and ‘Pyramid of numbers’. These should also be applied to each pyramid correctly.

justify the decisions you have made in less than 300 words, explaining why the pyramids vary in their construction based on the nature of the ecosystem concerned and the organisms within them.

Pyramid 1
Pyramid of biomass
Lake ecosystem

4th CONSUMER-Big fish (carnivore)

1st CONSUMER-Zooplankton

1st PRODUCENT-Phytoplankton

Pyramid 2
Pyramid of numbers
Woodland ecosystem

3rd CONSUMER-Hawk (carnivore)

2nd CONSUMERS-Small birds (carnivores)

1st CONSUMER-
Caterpillar (herbivores)

1st PRODUCER-Tree

Pyramid 3
Pyramid of biomass
Woodland ecosystem

3rd CONSUMER –Hawk (carnivore)

2nd CONSUMERS- Small birds (carnivore)

1st CONSUMER-Caterpillar (herbivore)

Pyramid 4
Pyramid of numbers
Lake ecosystem

4th CONSUMER- Big fish

3rd CONSUMER-Heron

2nd CONSUMER-Small fish

Pyramids of numbers and of biomass can be used to illustrate the relative mass/abundance of different trophic groups within an ecosystem.

In the lake ecosystem (Pyramid 4) primary producers (phytoplankton) are very small, but their number may run into millions. The number of zooplankton, like for example Daphnia and Cyclops might be around hundreds of thousands. Comparing to phytoplankton and zooplankton, there is significantly smaller number of small fish in lake ecosystem, even...
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