Keystone Species, Foundation Species, Umbrella Species & Indicator Species

Species that have strong effects on the composition of communities are called Keystone Species.
Example: Starfish, Humming Bird, Sea Otter, African elephants, Beaver, Flying Fox, Prairie dogs.
In addition to keystone species, there are other categories of species that are crucial to their ecosystem's survival.

Sea otter
Keystone Species: Sea otter
Foundation Species
Foundation species play a major role in creating or maintaining a habitat that supports other species.
Corals are one example of a foundation species in many islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Corals produce the reef structures on which countless other organisms, including human beings, live.
Umbrella Species
An umbrella species is a large animal or other organism on which many other species depend. Umbrella species are very similar to keystone species, but umbrella species are usually migratory and need a large habitat.

Protection of umbrella species is thought to automatically protect a host of other species.
Tigers are an example of an umbrella species. Efforts to save wild tigers in forests in the Indian state of Rajasthan also accomplish the goal of saving other species there, such as leopards, boars, hares, antelopes, and monkeys.
 Critical Link Species 
Critical  Link Species are species which play an important role in supporting network species by functioning as pollinators, nutrient circulators or absorbers.

Edge Species
The species which are found most abundantly in ecotone boundary are known as edge species.
Ecotone :It is defined as the place or area, where two major communities meet and blend together. It consists of spcies of both the communities.
Indicator Species
An indicator species is a plant or animal that is very sensitive to environmental changes in its ecosystem. This means it is affected almost immediately by damage to the ecosystem and can give early warning that a habitat is suffering. Damage from external influences such as water pollution, air pollution, or climate change first appear in indicator species.
  • Example : Lichen
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