keystone species

A species on which other species in an ecosystem largely depend, such that if it were removed the ecosystem would change drastically.


keystone species[photo]

Figure 2: Reduction of diversity and food-web complexity upon removal of sea otters, a keystone predator, on sub-tidal communities. Arrows indicate direction and quantity of nutrient and energy flow; dash-lined arrows indicate minimal energy/nutrient flow. Light grey organisms indicate small/unstable populations.[fn][[nid:932]][/fn]

keystone species [cite]

1. Credit: Brumbaugh, DR, T Agardy, and F Staub. Introduction to Marine Conservation Biology: Trophic Interactions in a Marine Community (Exercise solutions). Network for Conservation Educators and Practitioners, American Museum of Natural History.
2. Kelp forest by Kip Evans - Published by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
3. Credit: Ocean Defenders Alliance