Ecosystem Engineers

In nature, every animal has a part to play in the ecosystem. In some cases, there are critters that have more of an impact than others. These animals can help to create, modify, maintain, or even potentially destroy a habitat. Commonly referred to as ecosystem engineers, these animals can even affect species richness — the number of different species that are represented in a particular habitat.

There are many different types of ecosystem engineers. They can range from terrestrial (land) species like beavers, to marine species like baleen whales. They aren’t always vertebrates — animals that have backbones or spinal columns — either! Fungi and plankton are also considered ecosystem engineers.

Beavers (Castor canadensis) are commonly found in Nevada and are considered to be ecosystem engineers. How does this small mammals modify its habitat? Beavers are proficient at felling trees and building dams. In doing so, they control water quality and quantity, as well as create habitat for a wide array of species like birds, fish, amphibians and much more. Throughout their daily activities, beavers help keep wetlands fertile. They are truly the ultimate ecosystem engineer!

Denise Peterson

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *