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Keystone species and trophic cascades

United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#1

Here is an interesting paper I read a couple months ago on the keystone role of Bison in tallgrass prairie

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267855130_The_Keystone_Role_of_Bison_in_North_American_Tallgrass_Prairie

and here is the most famous example of a trophic cascade 





I have recently finished the book "Serengeti Rules" (I highly recommend it) and will be posting parts from it in this thread about multiple trophic cascades with an explanation of the keystone species and their roles which tie ecosystems together.
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#2

A good illustration from the book showing how the elimination of the disease rinderpest caused a trophic cascade in the serengeti


*This image is copyright of its original author
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#3

Another example of a trophic cascade outlined in the book is that of the keystone species, sea otters. They saw the contrast between an island with otters (covered in kelp forests) and one without (barren and full of urchins). But why was this? Essentially whaling many years before eliminated the prey of orcas, they turned to otters and decimated them. Otters could no longer regulate the urchins who in turn destroyed the kelp forests.
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
Ecology and Conservation
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#4

How beavers, as a keystone species, help salmon 



*This image is copyright of its original author


https://api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/2019/08/coastal-beavers-help-salmon-recovery-washington?__twitter_impression=true
"When the tiger stalks the jungle like the lowering clouds of a thunderstorm, the leopard moves as silently as mist drifting on a dawn wind." -Indian proverb
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