Keystone species

Even a fully constructed food web, however, can provide only a superficial and static view of the structure of biological communities. Not all the relationships between species are of equal importance in the dynamics and evolution of populations and the organization of communities.

Keystone species

Because grazing and browsing by ungulates affects the biomass, structure, and type of vegetation available to burn, these animals can actually regulate the dynamics of fire Hobbs, ; Keystone species et al. Episodic disturbance agents such as fire strongly interact with ungulate herbivory over space and time.

For example, removal of fine fuels by ungulate grazers may reduce the frequency of ground fires but can increase crown fires by enhancing the development of ladder trees, especially when combined with a relatively long absence of fire Hobbs, Further, postfire plant regeneration provides forage species that are highly palatable to ungulates, which attracts ungulates to burned areas, where they influence vegetation regrowth after fire Canon et al.

Moose rapidly immigrated to burned areas after a large wildfire in mixed coniferous-deciduous forests of northern Minnesota Peek, In fact, fire size can moderate the adverse effects of ungulate herbivory on vegetation recovery.

In intensively burned ponderosa pine, mixed-conifer, and spruce-fir forests of northern New Mexico, elk selectively foraged on grasses over shrubs Biggs et al. In 25 wildfires throughout five national forests in Utah, larger areas of aspen forest that burned with greater severity had the highest growth potential for aspen regeneration, and these high burn-severity conditions stimulated defensive chemicals in plants that lowered the levels of damage done by ungulate browsing Wan et al.

Positive effects of high-severity fire on ungulates likely are most pronounced in vegetation types that are most adapted to high-intensity fires, such as aspen forests and shrublands. Mountain or bighorn sheep selected intensely burned shrublands up to 15 years after fire in Montana DeCesare and Pletscher, and in southern California mountains Bleich et al.

Wildfire increased the carrying capacity of southern California desert bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis nelsoni in the San Gabriel Mountains, dramatically increasing the number of animals in this endangered population Holl et al.

A large natural fire on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California improved the winter range of Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis sierrae by increasing green forage availability, shifting diet composition to include more forbs, and possibly decreasing predation risk from mountain lions by increasing visibility Greene et al.

Studies investigating the impact of fire on mule deer Odocoileus hemionusa common herbivore in the western United States, indicate that populations tend to increase after severe fire, especially in chaparral communities.

Density then decreased each year afterward until preburn levels were reached years later. Chamise chaparral burned by a large wildfire in California had more deer use per square mile than unburned chamise chaparral Bendell, In northern coastal California, mule deer densities in chaparral burned by high-intensity wildfire the year before were four times greater than in unburned chaparral Taber and Dasmann, Because the fire described in this study was relatively small, deer may have moved from one area to another rather than actually increasing the population via higher birth rates.

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Here the increase in the use of burned chaparral was attributed to movements of deer from adjacent oak woodlands rather than an intrinsic increase in population size.

Heavy use of prescribe-burned chamise chaparral by mule deer was reported in the San Jacinto Mountains of southern California Roberts and Tiller, Other studies documented postfire increases in the number of mule deer in conifer forests. Two other studies that documented increases in mule deer in burned forests hypothesized that postfire logging removes protective cover, a critical habitat element for mule deer.

Significantly more deer droppings were located in pinyon-juniper woodlands of Arizona burned by high-intensity fire 13 years earlier than in adjacent unburned areas McCulloch, The author surmised that the standing forest of dead trees and fallen trunks provided some cover for deer from predators.

Both mule deer and elk used intensely burned lodgepole pine forests at two sites in Wyoming significantly more than paired clearcut sites of the same ages 9 and 5 years oldbased on fecal pellet counts Davis, In the Sierra Madre study area, the burned and clearcut plots both had the same number of plant species present, and they both had standing dead timber.

However, the burned plot with much more standing dead timber had more deer and elk use. Available studies generally report increases in the reproductive rates and body condition of female mule deer in burned habitats. The reproductive rate was 1. After 3 years, the reproductive rate of deer at the burned site declined to that of deer in the unburned site.

Chamise chaparral burned by a large wildfire produced heavier deer, and does had a higher frequency of ovulation, gave birth to more fawns, and wintered in better condition than does in dense, unburned chamise Bendell, Another study, however, documented no difference in fawn-to-doe ratios between burned and unburned chaparral interspersed with oak woodlands in central California Klinger et al.

Foraging studies indicate that mule deer populations in chaparral habitats burned by high-intensity fire often increase as a result of the increased availability of browse.

Keystone species

Ceanothus—a high-quality food for ungulates Hobbs, —is abundant after fire because it reproduces from seed that is scarified by burning Smith, Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus also generally increases after fire Smith, Moreover, fire can increase the palatability of foliage for deer as well as the crude protein content Smith, The improved quantity and quality of browse may be related to the fire-caused increase in available nutrients in the soil.

As such, deer populations often benefit from the increased food production and nutritional value of their food in recently burned areas.

Length and surface enlargement factor of papillae the surface area within the intestine for absorbing nutrients of necropsied mule deer were greater in those from high-intensity burned than unburned ponderosa pine habitat in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota Zimmerman et al.

These physiological factors indicate higher forage quality, such as greater concentration of volatile fatty acids.

The authors concluded that fire was beneficial at the mucosal level for mule deer: Lichens in boreal habitats are preferred winter forage for caribou Rangifer tarandusyet large wildfires that depleted lichens had no effect on home-range size, range fidelity, or the survival and fecundity of woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou in Alberta, Canada Dalerum et al.The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of Business Ecosystems Mean for Strategy, Innovation, and Sustainability [Marco Iansiti, Roy Levien] on leslutinsduphoenix.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

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Keystone species

A species whose presence and role within an ecosystem has a disproportionate effect on other organisms within the system. A keystone species is often a dominant predator whose removal allows a prey population to explode and often decreases overall diversity.

Other kinds of keystone species are those. A keystone species is a species that plays a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community and whose impact on the community is greater than would be expected based on its relative abundance or total biomass.

Without the keystone species, the ecological community to which it. Paul Andersen explains how ecosystems function. He begins with a description of how life on the planet is ordered from large to small in biomes, ecosystems, communities, population, and individuals.

Although sometimes portrayed in the media as voracious predators, grizzly bears are normally reclusive creatures.

3 or keystone species: a species of plant or animal that produces a major impact (as by predation) on its ecosystem and is considered essential to maintaining optimum ecosystem function or structure. Although sometimes portrayed in the media as voracious predators, grizzly bears are normally reclusive creatures. Grizzly bears are intelligent, curious, and have excellent memory, particularly regarding where food sources are located. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and (1)crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. A small number of keystone species can have a huge impact on the environment. A.

Grizzly bears are intelligent, curious, and have excellent memory, particularly regarding where food sources are located. Both are a keystone species and both are the key pollinators to the unique vegetation in their area.

In the forests of Patagonia, a hummingbird species called Sephanoides sephanoides pollinates on its own nearly 20% of the local woody flora.

Grizzly Biology & Behavior - Western Wildlife Outreach