Biomass And Trophic Levels Basics
The word biomass has several meanings, and one of them is the amount of mass that a certain living creature has, or that of a species. It is used in biology often, and is usually related to the food chain and trophic levels. In order to understand biomass and trophic levels better, you should first understand the food chain.
Trophic level is the level of a creature on the food chain. There are three levels, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. Primary consumers are those which eat plants. The secondary consumers are the carnivores which eat the herbivores. The last level, tertiary, is carnivores that eat other carnivores. There are also detritivores, which are organisms that eat the waste of other organisms.
When an organism is consumed, its biomass is stored by the consumer. About ten percent of the energy that the organism first consumed is available to the organism that consumes it. This means that as we move up the trophic levels, the lower the biomass is.
To understand this phenomenon, an example can make things easier. For example, if a bunny was to eat some plants, some of it would be used to make new cells and tissues while the rest of it would be digested and then excreted from the body in the form of waste.
Some of the energy from the food is used to power the bunny's daily movements and activities, while the rest of it is stored as biomass. When a fox eats the bunny, the amount of energy that it receives from it is a lot lower than what the bunny received from the plants. This is because of the energy that the bunny used up.
Usually, if an animal does a lot of activities and requires a lot of energy to live, then the amount of energy that it uses to store as biomass is less. Also, homeotherms use a lot of energy, since they need to have a constant body temperature.
Because higher level animals get so much less biomass than lower level animals on the food scale, it can be expected that lower level animals have a greater species biomass. This is because the higher level consumers are limited by the number of animals they consume, and they get a lot less energy and biomass from them.
There are also some inverted biomass pyramids though, where there are very few primary consumers and many tertiary consumers. It is a very rare case, but it does happen in some ecosystems. For example, in the ocean, there are very little algae for the organisms to consume, but it is still a functioning ecosystem. This is because there are always new algae growing in the ocean, so although there is little it never runs out.
So that is how biomass and trophic levels work in the ecosystem. They are closely related, and they are both necessary terms to understand what goes on in our environments. By studying them, we can learn more about how we can keep nature on its course and have our needs met without disturbing it.