The Importance Of Keystone Species

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Biodiversity, the variety of organisms living together in a specific place, is very important in maintaining balanced ecosystems. An ecosystem is a group of organisms that live inter-connectedly in a community (Vogt, 1997). If the community's environment suddenly change, the balance of that community may also change which can cause its destruction. The destruction of an ecosystem can have serious effects on the organisms in it such as loss of different species or even their extinction. Therefore, conserving biodiversity is very significant.
There are various methods on which biodiversity can be conserved. According to Buchanan (2002), keystone species should be prioritized for conservation. A keystone species is an organism which performs a critical role that greatly affects its community (Power et al., 1996). Sea otters, for example, are the keystone species in kelp forests. These mammals feed on sea urchins. Without sea otters regulating the sea urchins’ population, sea urchins would eat up most of the ecosystem’s kelp, which is one of the primary sources of food and shelter for that ecosystem. Everything that depends on kelp would be also much affected by the loss of sea otters. Thus, being a
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For example, Lirbralato et al. (2006) analyzed a group of species in food web model and their keystone factors using ecosystem modelling software Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE). Afterwards, he ranked the level of keystone factors to get the keystone species. Jordan et al. (2008), on the other hand, used CosBiLab Graph Software to evaluate the importance of structure and function of species in the food web model in Prince William Sound. Their studies found that the relationship of keystone species and ecosystem characteristics can give an efficient way to understand ecosystem
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