What happens when you remove a starfish from the ecosystem?
A keystone species has a very large effect on an ecosystem. For example: seas tars prey on mussels and if the sea stars are removed from the environment, the mussel population will greatly increase and other organisms may have difficulty living in that environment.
What happened to the biodiversity of the ecosystem when Robert Paine removed the starfish?
By controlling mussel numbers, starfish enable a wide diversity of species to co-exist, including other prey species, and an array of seaweeds, sponges and anemones that the starfish do not consume. When Paine removed the stars from the system, mussels quickly crowded out other species.
What happened to the species composition when a keystone species of starfish was removed?
Within a year of the starfish’s removal, species diversity significantly decreased in the study area from fifteen to eight species (Figure 2). In his seminal paper that followed this work, Paine (1969) derived the term keystone species to describe the starfish in these intertidal ecosystems.
What happens to an ecosystem when a species is removed?
Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Keystone species have low functional redundancy. This means that if the species were to disappear from the ecosystem, no other species would be able to fill its ecological niche.
What happens to species diversity if we remove starfish from the northwest US tidal pool ecosystem?
Sea stars are an iconic symbol of California’s rocky intertidal habitats, inhabiting tide pools and low intertidal benches. … With the recent loss of many sea stars to disease, mussel beds may expand toward the water and monopolize space, thus reducing biodiversity.
What did Paine discover by removing the keystone species from the ecosystem?
He found a similar chain reaction — or “trophic cascade,” as he called it — when sea otters vanished or were removed from an environment because of fur trading, pollution or marine predators.
Why was it important for Paine to record the number of different species as well as the overall number of animals on the rock outcrop?
Paine discovered that one predator could regulate the composition of an entire community. Why was it important for Paine to record the number of different species as well as the overall number of animals on the rock outcrop? … Some species have little influence on the distribution and abundance of other species.
What happened to the population of mussels when the starfish were removed?
When the starfish have been removed experimentally, the mussel populations have expanded rapidly and covered the rocky intertidal shores so exclusively that other species cannot establish themselves.