Ecological Dominants with Keystone Species
Berg (2007) defines the ecosystem as a component of many different species with dominant and keystone species forming the two common species types (p. 15). The ecological dominant species are the most abundant species by composition present in any given system. This indicates that the species must form the greater percentage of the overall biomass in a particular system. For instance, in the Australian savanna, the kangaroos make the highest percentage of the species inhabiting the area. Their structural and biological development enables them to survive the warm temperatures as well as travel for longer in search of food and water. The savanna ecological system is sustained by the continuous existence and availability of big population of kangaroos.
On the other hand, a keystone species is mainly a type of species that presents highest levels of effects for all other species existing in the specific ecosystem. The elimination or removal of this type of species creates devastating effects such as death to other existing species in the community (Krebs, 2008 p. 61). Notably, this type of species keeps the entire ecosystem in balance and ensures that other species have their space and freedom in the system. Importantly, this species has been known to keep the levels of predation down by reducing or increasing the numbers of predators and prey for balance. A common example of the keystone species is the sea otters which help in keeping sea urchins in check because their extinction may lead to an unhealthy ecosystem in the coast forest habitation.
However, both dominant and keystone species are very similar in ecosystems because of their fundamental role in the existence of these systems. Their specific functions are credited for the continual existence of the system they live in. For instance, the high population of dominant species ensures that the system will have continual life while the keynote species ensures that each particular species is protected and can access essential resources in the community.
Berg, L. (2007). Introductory botany: plants, people, and the environment. Belmont: Cengage Learning
Krebs, C. (2008). The ecological world view. Collingwood: University of California Press

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