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How Might you Add Keystone Species to the Concept Map?

To add keystone species to a concept map, you can start by identifying their role in the ecosystem. Keystone species are species that have a disproportionate effect on their environment compared to their abundance. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance and stability of their ecosystems.

You can use a concept map to visually represent the relationships between different species and their roles in the ecosystem. To add keystone species to the concept map, you can represent their role in shaping the diversity of communities.

For example, the HHMI BioInteractive website provides a map-based interface to highlight 15 different keystone species around the world from a variety of trophic levels and ecological roles — including predators, herbivores, scavengers, and ecosystem engineers. You can use this resource to identify keystone species and their ecological roles, and then add them to your concept map.

What are some examples of keystone species?

Keystone species are species that have a disproportionate effect on their environment compared to their abundance 1. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance and stability of their ecosystems. Here are some examples of keystone species:

  • Sea otter: Coastal kelp protectors.
  • Kangaroo rat: Desert seed dispersers.
  • Snowshoe hare: Northern forest prey.
  • Grizzly bear: Forest nutrient distributors.
  • Hunting behavior of gray wolves: Apex pack hunters.
  • Beaver: Wetland dam builders.
  • Prairie dog: Grassland burrowers.
  • Shark: Ocean apex predators.
  • Starfish: Tidal pool regulators.
  • Hummingbird: Flower pollinators.
  • Saguaro: Desert arm plants.
  • American alligator: Subtropical swamp rulers.
  • Honey bee: Plant mutualists.
  • Woodpecker: Tree cavity makers.
  • Ivory bush coral: Reef structure builders.
  • Parrotfish: Coral reef cleaners.
  • Krill: Southern ocean food base.
  • Gopher tortoise: Dry-land burrowing tortoises.
  • Mountain Lions: Large territorial predators.
  • Jaguars: Water-loving big cats.
  • Caribous: Arctic herd animals.
  • Fig Tree: Fruit-bearing trees.
  • Pacific Salmon: Freshwater and terrestrial nourishers.
  • Snow Geese: Tundra and agricultural grazers.
  • Spruce Budworm: Forest herbivores.
  • Sugar Maples: Eastern U.S. trees.
  • Red Mangroves: Water edge trees.
  • Bats: Nighttime insect controllers.

How do keystone species affect their ecosystem?

Keystone species have a disproportionate effect on their environment compared to their abundance. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance and stability of their ecosystems. Keystone species have low functional redundancy, meaning that if the species were to disappear from the ecosystem, no other species would be able to fill its ecological niche. The ecosystem would be forced to radically change, allowing new and possibly invasive species to populate the habitat.

Keystone species can influence food webs in various ways depending on their ecological roles. For example, predators like the gray wolf can control the distribution and population of large numbers of prey species. The presence of sea otters can help protect coastal kelp forests by keeping populations of mussels and barnacles in check, which in turn ensures healthy populations of seaweeds and the communities that feed on them Beavers can help maintain wetland habitats by building dams that create ponds and wetlands, which provide habitat for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial species.

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