PerspectiveEcology

Keystone Species--Hunting the Snark?

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Science  06 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5514, pp. 63-64
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060793

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Summary

What happens if one entire species in an ecosystem is lost or a non-native invading species moves in? In his Perspective, Bond discusses a study that has examined over a 20-year period the impact on a desert ecosystem of losing its biggest seed-eating rodent, the kangaroo rat. As Bond explains, the loss of the kangaroo rat had far-reaching effects on the desert ecosystem until the arrival of a seed-eating pocket mouse that quickly colonized the study plots and filled the kangaroo rat's niche.