Keystone Species

  • A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.
  • if these species will 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.
  • Any organism, from plants to fungi, may be a keystone species; they are not always the largest or most abundant species in an ecosystem.
  • For example: The hummingbird influences the persistence of several flowering plant species by involving the pollination of flowers.