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I’m great, but I’m a little concerned about our ecosystem here in Makkah Bay.
Hi Tom, how are you doing today?
We are a little concerned too. With all the starfish gone the mussel population is really thriving and it’s scaring us.
I recently learned that the starfish are a keystone species. What does that mean?
I’m pretty sure the removal of those starfish caused a Trophic Cascade.
Keystone species are parts of the ecosystem that control the population under them in the food chain.
What is a Trophic cascade?
A Trophic Cascade is a top down effect which shows the affect of the removal of a single organism from that ecosystem.
The effects of this can be positive or they can harm the entire population.
Was the effect here in the bay positive or negative?
We’re coming over guys and we can help explain the situation.
Well, that varies based on if you were the starfishes predators or pray.
When the starfish were removed from the ecosystem the starfish’s pray were able to flourish. Without a predator the mussels population grew unchecked.
This had a negative effect on the prey of the mussels as they now had lots more predators. Removal of a keystone species hurts the food chain.
I can’t believe that the King crabs eating all the starfish could hurt our ecosystem so much. We need populations to grow checked so they don’t harm other populations
Keystone species and Trophic cascades can have extreme impacts. Let’s work together to protect the starfish so their populations can once again rise to a normal level.
Together we have the power to help restore our beautiful ecosystem.