A Study On A Keystone Species

1413 WordsDec 10, 20156 Pages
A keystone species are one that is essential to the function of the ecosystem as a whole. They are a biological foundation that supports the entire interworking of life. They are the ones that many other animals cannot do without and without them the ecosystem will unravel. Every summer millions of Atlantic salmon return to the coast to fill hundreds of streams and rivers, just as they have for hundreds of years feeding many different species including the local people, those throughout the nation and feeding many local economies. Yet quietly and without proper explanation the number of salmon is beginning to dwindle and is on the edge of distinctions. Few if any are returning to the rivers and those that are, are dying mysteriously before they have a chance to lay their eggs. One thing we do know is that salmon do not have an appropriate habitat for reproducing and the upbringing of the young and it is essential to have one for the continued existence of the species. Without them we will lose a key player in our ecosystem. The life cycle of the Atlantic salmon begins in late October when rivers are just cool enough to begin production of the new salmon. The female starts by digging a small nest called a redd in the bottom gravel area of a stream. Redd’s are dug out of the gravel in a way that allows a clean flow and plenty of oxygen to be received by the growing fish. The male salmon then projects their milt (sperm) onto the redd to fertilize the egg. With swift

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