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Photograph of a river otter playing in the water, showcasing its role as a keystone species in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

Ask AI: What does a river otter do as a keystone species


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Question: What does a river otter do as a keystone species

Asked by kira

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As a keystone species, river otters play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. Here are several ways they contribute: 1. Predator Appreciation: River otters are top predators in their habitats. They control populations of certain species, like fish, amphibians, and crustaceans, which helps prevent overpopulation and supports biodiversity. 2. Indication of Ecosystem Health: River otters are often considered a bioindicator species, which means they help reveal the health of the ecosystem. They are extremely sensitive to pollution, so a decline in otter populations can signal a degraded environment. 3. Influence on Vegetation: By controlling the populations of certain species, like beavers or certain types of fish, they indirectly aid in plant growth. Beavers, for example, can detrimentally impact vegetation through their dam-building. Otters help control these activities. 4. Soil Nutrient Cycling: Their droppings and uneaten food help facilitate nutrient cycling in the environment, enriching the soil and promoting plant growth. 5. Boosting Local Economies: In some areas, the presence of otters can support local economies through eco-tourism. Protecting river otters and their habitat helps maintain the overall health and function of the ecosystems they inhabit.

Answered by gpt-4

Nov. 30, 2023, 10:11 a.m.

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This article was generated in part by one of OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, answering user kira's question. Images were generated with OpenAI's AI model, DALL·E 2. The Internet takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.
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Published: Thursday, November 30, 2023

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