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Asked • 05/08/20

Keystone species

Define and give a real life example of a keystone species.

2 Answers By Expert Tutors


Morgan S. answered • 05/09/20

5.0 (20)

Human Biology Major

Barbara K.

Morgan, honeybees are all too abundant, especially in North America, where they were introduced and industrialized. They do not generally pollinate native species, but similarly industrialized plants such as apples (also not native to the Americas). They do not contribute to North American ecosystems. There are, however, many native bees in peril that could lead to the collapse of native ecosystems.


Morgan S.

Hi Barbara, thanks for the feedback. I didn't mean to make it sound as though honey bees are in danger on extinction, however, the slew of factors threatening their species is concerning. A study conducted by the University of California San Diego analyzes data showing that the honey bee is the single most important pollinator species in natural ecosystems. Their quantitative results revealed that honeybees were responsible for 89% of native species pollination networks, and 61% of networks in areas where they have been introduced by humans, such as North America. I suppose the better answer would have been that wild bees, in general, are all keystone species because of their vital impact on ecosystems and agricultural systems. However, in my conservation biology course last semester, we specifically discussed the honey bee as a keystone species, which is why I used this example. Thanks for your input, I appreciate the comment!


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