Discovering Keystone Species
Robert Paine’s experiment tested the idea that the structure and composition of the intertidal community at the tip of the Olympic peninsula in Washington’s Mukkaw Bay was controlled from the top down by the predatory starfish Pisaster ochraceus. When starfish were removed, the diversity of the community plummeted. Paine coined the term keystone species to describe species that, like the starfish, have disproportionately large impacts on their communities. Explore how Paine designed this experiment and made his discovery with this classroom poster.
(This poster is designed to be printed at a maximum size of 29.75" x 23.75”)
intertidal zone; invertebrates; top-down regulation; bottom-up regulation; herbivores, primary producers, predators, starfish, anenome, mussel, food web, mussel boundary, keystone species