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Harmful Impacts of Species Collapse

Info: 1077 words (4 pages) Essay
Published: 23rd Sep 2019 in Environmental Sciences

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The environment has many contributing factors that helps keep everything running. Without certain elements in place, species are not able to expand. A keystone species can be defined as the main control center that keeps everything running efficiently. According to a research study, “keystone species can help maintain the stability of an ecosystem” (Mills et al. 219). Also, if the removal of a keystone species takes place, others will be greatly affected. Research supporting this claim also suggest that, “the removal of keystone species will either increase or decrease another species diversity within its community” (Mills et al. 220). There are many examples that demonstrate how keystone species work in an environment. Research found in an article states that, “an estimated 75% of crop species need pollution from animals to help them expand” ( Goulson). Bees are one of the most well-known keystone species because many crops are dependent on them (Goulson). The importance of keystone species continues to expand as many crops and ecosystems rely on them.

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Trophic levels consist of many elements that help a food chain run smoothly. Its main focus is to pass energy from producers to consumers. There are also carnivores and herbivores that are key elements in a food chain. It is stated that, “most producers receive their energy from the sun, and consumers get energy from eating producers” ( Shuster et al. 472). Although there is lots of energy being moved through a food chain, much of it is lost along the way. Studies show that, “about 90% of energy is lost between each trophic level due to environmental factors” (Shuster et al. 472). This means, “only 10% of energy is passed along to the next trophic level” (Shuster et al. 472). Therefore, each species plays an important role in the flow of food chain.

There is often confusion between the concept’s food chain and food web. A food chain demonstrates the flow of energy between producers and consumers. An article also says that, “a food chain will always start with a producer and shows the path between habitats” ( Holcomb). As for a food web, this goes more in depth and shows all the connections that animals have with each other. Food webs can be a bit more complex than food chains as they are, “complex intersections between animals in a community” (Shuster et al. 473). In a food web there are, “more species included to show the relationship as arrows connect the flow” (Holcomb). Therefore, both a food chain and a food web share many similarities as they both connect the relationships with animals. A food chain focuses on the energy flow, and the food web is a more in depth look into the relationships.

Commensalism, mutualism, and parasitism are all different relationships that species share with each other. In some relationships, one species may have a greater benefit than the other, which is why they differ. As for commensalism, this relationship involves, “two living organisms when one benefits without harming the other” ( Helmenstine). This means that one species can gain something such as shelter or protection without negatively effecting the other organism. As for mutualism, “both species benefit from each other during the interactions for survival” ( Bailey). Parasitism is the only relationship where a species is harmed. This type of relationship is known as, “a type of symbiosis and predation because one species feed from the other” ( Shuster et al. 474). All organisms are linked to one of these relationships and either benefit, remain unharmed, or are harmed.

To continue, a niche is an environmentally equipped space where an organism can live and survive. It is important for each species to have their own niche in order to reproduce. It is said that, “competition can occur when two species require the same living conditions” (Shuster et al. 476). This means if two organisms both need the same resources to live their daily lives, this can cause problems amongst each other. The competitive exclusion principle is defined as, “ a species driven to extinction due to sharing the same niche as another species” (Shuster et al.476). If niche separation occurs this will limit the chances of this conflict. This relates to speciation because a new species can form while two species are sharing the same niche.

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There are many harmful aspects of colony collapse disorder that have an effect on a species. In my opinion, the most harmful cause is pesticides. Research found that, “the amounts of pesticides used has reached a toxic level and now has a negative effect on bees” (Shuster et al. 480). When the health of a bee is put at risk, it has a harmful effect on pollination. Research also found that, “there were large amounts of pesticides found in beehives” (Shuster et al.479). With this being said, pesticides have a major negative effect on the health of bees and is one of the main reasons for colony collapse disorder.


  • Bailey, Regina. “When Both Benefit: Mutualism Explained.” Thoughtco., Dotdash, 23 Feb. 2018, www.thoughtco.com/mutualism-symbiotic-relationships-4109634 Bibliography
  • Goulson, Dave. “Decline of Bees Forces China’s Apple Farmers to Pollinate by Hand.” 中外China Dialogue, 10 Feb. 2012, chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5193-Decline-of-bees-forces-China-s-apple-farmers-to-pollinate-by-hand.
  • Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Benefit Without Harm: Commensalism Explained.” Thoughtco., Dotdash, 21 Jan. 2019, www.thoughtco.com/commensalism-definition-and-examples-4114713
  • Holcomb, Karen. “How Are Food Chains and Food Webs Alike and Different?” Sciencing.com, Sciencing, 10 Jan. 2019, sciencing.com/food-food-webs-alike-different-6192951.html.
  • Mills, L. Scott, et al. “The keystone-species concept in ecology and conservation.” BioScience, vol. 43, no. 4, 1993, p. 219+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com.db22.linccweb.org/apps/doc/A13770826/AONE?u=lincclin_pcc&sid=AONE&xid=bf0f14d5. Accessed 30 Jan. 2019.
  • Shuster Michèle, et al. Biology for a Changing World. second ed., W.H. Freeman and Company, 2018.


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