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can virtually all species be considered a keystone species?

someone asked me if every species can be considered a keystone species (a species that has a disproportionate effect on the environment relative to its abundance) due to community patterns changing as a result of removal. i'm not sure if every species can be considered a keystone species, but i'm sure lots can.

ex: elephants graze on acacia in the savannah, preventing the savannah from becoming a forest. this allows predators (lions, cheetahs, etc) to see prey and attach. it also allows smaller rodents such as ground squirrels and shrews to find shelter beneath the warm, dry soils of the savannah. so, clearly elephants are a keystone species. but would the removal of, say, lions also have a disproportionate affect on wildebeasts and deer? surely the populations of wildebeasts and deer would rise drastically with the removal of a dominant predator.

TL/DR: would the removal of any species in a community create large enough effects that allow that species to be considered a keystone species?

thank you in advance.

2 Answers

  • C
    Lv 5
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Not all species are keystone species You describe it by definition in your first paragraph

    Climate change could effect habits creating a new keystone species.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    No. Removal of lions would allow other predators to expand their populations. They are not a keystone species. BTW, I believe that the savannah is kept from becoming forest by the low rainfall, not by browsing by elephants, giraffes, and other herbivores. Also, there are no deer in Africa; that niche is filled by antelope, mostly.

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