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Anonymous asked in EnvironmentConservation · 1 decade ago

What are keystone species and how do they influence species richness in communities ?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A keystone species has more effect on the habitat than its biomass would suggest. It plays a critical role in keeping that environment together to such an extent that there would be dramatic changes without this species even though the species itself might not do too much when observed.

    There's actual several definitions beyond this of what a keystone species is. It could be a small predator that keeps down a population of herbivores and prevents them from wiping out a plant species. They're effective especially when the other animal has no other predators.

    There's also species who are mutually beneficial. They help another species do things it otherwise couldn't.

    There are also "engineers" who do something to the ecosystem that is beneficial, like grizzlies who take nutrients from the salmon to the earth when they are pulled from the river or prairie dogs whose tunnels are used by other species.

    Source(s): Environmental Science and Nature merit badge counselor
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A keystone species is one that has the major influence on the community, like alligators in southern swamps. The pools they hollow out retain water during droughts and birds tend to nest in the trees above the pool because the alligator tends to eat the predators that would otherwise climb up to eat the nestlings. Generally the result of the presence of the keystone species is increased richness.

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