The key difference between umbrella species and keystone species is that the umbrella species are the species which indirectly involve in the conservation of many other species at the ecosystem or landscape level while the keystone species are the species which play disproportionately a larger role in the prevalence and population levels of other species within their ecosystem or community.
An ecosystem is a community in which living organisms and non-living environment interact together. Within the ecosystem, species interact themselves via different types of processes such as predation, parasitism, mutualisms, symbiosis, competition, etc. The conservation of species can be subjective, and the determination of the status of species is not easy. Therefore, for the ease of conservation, some species such as umbrella species, keystone species, flagship species can be identified and used. The changes in these species indicate the status of other species in the ecosystem. Hence, it makes conservation decisions easier.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Umbrella Species
3. What are Keystone Species
4. Similarities Between Umbrella Species and Keystone Species
5. Side by Side Comparison – Umbrella Species vs Keystone Species in Tabular Form
What are Umbrella Species?
Conservation of many species in an ecosystem is a difficult task. However, some species make conservation decisions easier. Umbrella species are such kind of species whose conservation indirectly protects many other species in the ecosystem. Hence, umbrella species can be used to make conservation-related decisions. These species have a larger habitat needs and other requirements. Furthermore, when umbrella species are conserved, it will result in the conservation of many other species. Hence, monitoring umbrella species and conserving or protecting them will result in a high quality habitat for the other species in that ecosystem.
Though the concept of ‘umbrella species’ is a debating conservation method, it is a faster and less expensive method of conservation since it reduces the cost of investment in sampling. The Amur tiger is one umbrella species. And also grizzly bear is another umbrella species. Many of the umbrella species are migratory since they need larger habitat requirements.
What are Keystone Species?
Keystone species are the species which pose great importance and strong effect on the composition of communities. They are important in controlling the ecosystem within their habitat. If a keystone species is removed from a habitat, the habitat may dramatically change. Some species may disappear from the ecosystem. Even more, there is a chance of becoming extinct as well. Therefore, keystone species play a unique and crucial role in maintaining the structure and integrity of the community.
Some examples of keystone species are wolves, hummingbirds, North American beaver, Saguaro cactus, palm and fig trees, etc. The hummingbird influences the persistence of several flowering plant species by involving the pollination of flowers. American beaver determine the prevalence and activities of many other species by changing the environment. The keystone species can exert a top-down influence on lower trophic levels and prevent them from monopolizing critical resources such as space, key producer food source etc.
What are the Similarities Between Umbrella Species and Keystone Species?
- Umbrella species and keystone species describe how a single species influencing many other species persistence.
- Other species depend on these two species types.
- Both types are crucial for the existence of their ecosystems.
What is the Difference Between Umbrella Species and Keystone Species?
Umbrella species and keystone species are two types of species on whom other species depend. Umbrella species make conservation decisions easier since their conservation indirectly protects other many species within ecosystems. Keystone species also play a unique and crucial role in its environment in prevalence and maintaining population levels of other species.
The below infographic presents the difference between umbrella species and keystone species in tabular form.
Summary -Umbrella Species vs Keystone Species
Species loss is an accelerating threat to the world. Hence, species conservation should be maximized. Otherwise, some species may be extinct from the world very soon. However, it is not an easy task. Some species such as umbrella species, keystone species make this task a little bit easy due to their importance to the persistence of ecosystems. Moreover, umbrella species make conservation easier since their conservation indirectly conserves many other species in the ecosystem. On the other hand, keystone species also pose great importance to prevalence and population levels of other species within the ecosystem. They greatly influence the food webs. If we remove a keystone species from its environment, it can drastically change or cease the ecosystem. This is the difference between umbrella species and keystone species.