Building Ecological Pyramids
In this activity, students use the website WildCam Gorongosa to gather and analyze data from trail camera photos in Gorongosa National Park. Students use this data to predict, plan, and build a biomass pyramid for species in the park.
First, students visit WildCam Gorongosa to learn about the animals in the park and predict which animals belong to different trophic levels. Students then visit WildCam Gorongosa Lab, a part of WildCam Gorongosa where they can view, filter, and download trail camera data. Students use these data to build a biomass pyramid for a specific vegetation type (habitat) in the park. This activity encourages students to make connections between species, trophic levels, and vegetation types and to assess the stability of ecological communities within an ecosystem. Students also interpret and construct explanations, develop and use models, organize and analyze scientific data, and perform calculations using a spreadsheet program.
Student Learning Targets
- Make predictions about the biomass relationships between trophic levels in an ecosystem.
- Analyze quantitative data to create a biomass pyramid.
- Describe the relationships between trophic levels and between ecosystems based on the shape of a biomass pyramid.
- Formulate hypotheses and make observations about the stability of ecosystems based on the biomass relationship between trophic levels.
biomass, consumer, ecological pyramid, ecosystem, floodplain, grassland, intensity of use, limestone gorge, producer, savanna, species abundance, stability, trophic level, woodland
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-4, HS-LS2-6; SEP1, SEP2, SEP3, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
ENE-1.H, ENE-1.M, ENE-1.N, ENE-1.O; SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6
IB Biology (2016)
4.1, 4.2, C.1, C.2
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Topic(s): 1.9, 1.10, 1.11
Learning Objectives & Practices: EIN-2.I, ENG-1.C, ENG-1.D, SP1, SP2, SP5, SP6
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5
Common Core (2010)
ELA.RST.9–12.3, ELA.RST.9–12.7, ELA.RST.9–12.9
Vision and Change (2009)
CC4, CC5; DP1, DP2, DP3