Linking Keystone Species and Functional Groups: A New Operational Definition of the Keystone Species Concept
Robert D Davic, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
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The concept of the "keystone species" is redefined to allow for the a priori prediction of these species within ecosystems. A keystone species is held to be a strongly interacting species whose top-down effect on species diversity and competition is large relative to its biomass dominance within a functional group. This operational definition links the community importance of keystone species to a specific ecosystem process, e.g., the regulation of species diversity, within functional groups at lower trophic levels that are structured by competition for a limited resource. The a priori prediction of keystone species has applied value for the conservation of natural areas.
keystone species, competition, dominance, feeding guilds, functional groups, power laws, species diversity, biomass dominance
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087