Linking Keystone Species and Functional Groups: A New Operational Definition of the Keystone Species Concept
Robert D. Davic
- Publisher: Resilience Alliance
Ecology and Society
keystone species | competition | dominance | feeding guilds | functional groups | power laws | species diversity | biomass dominance | Biology (General) | QH301-705.5 | Ecology | QH540-549.5
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.