An ecosystem consists of a community of living things, and the physical environment they live in. All components of an ecosystem, whether they are biotic or abiotic, interact with each other, and a change in one component will affect another. Every part of an ecosystem is important in keeping it balanced and functional! Sometimes, one species can have a major influence on how its ecosystem works. These ‘keystone species’ are vital in maintaining a balanced and healthy ecosystem, and their removal can have dramatic and detrimental effects.
Salmon are a keystone species in the Fraser River. Through this exercise, you will explore how salmon are connected to other organisms at each stage of their lifecycle. Match each species to its place in the salmon food web below. If you need a clue, click on the image of each species to learn about its natural habitat and diet.
As a keystone species in the Fraser River ecosystem, there are dozens of different organisms that depend upon salmon for survival. Salmon contribute to the ecosystem at every stage of their life, and the circle of life tends to bring things – well, in full circle. When salmon spawners die, their bodies fertilize the forest around them. The increased vegetation creates healthier habitats that help salmon eggs and juvenile salmon grow and develop, and enables insects and other organisms towards the bottom of the food chain to flourish. Ensuring the long-term health of salmon populations is a critical piece to maintaining a balanced ecosystem and supporting the biodiversity found within the Fraser Watershed.
Keep learning about Watershed CPR with this resource from the Fraser River Discovery Centre: My River, My Home
The Watershed CPR Education Program is a self-guided, virtual learning experience all about the Fraser River, created by the Rivershed Society of BC.
In this virtual experience, users are introduced to the three pillars of Watershed CPR—Connect, Protect, and Restore—through a series of engaging activities and interactives about the Fraser Watershed. Users will learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit the Fraser; the First Nations who have lived in this area since time immemorial; some of the conservation issues affecting the watershed; and how to “perform Watershed CPR” and become a Watershed Defender.
To learn more about Watershed CPR and the Rivershed Society of BC, visit rivershed.com.
Thank you to our partners in development: Cicada Creative and Canadian Geographic, and immense gratitude to the Kwantlen First Nation for their time and contributions to the program. Consultation from Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Funding provided by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, and Environment and Climate Change Canada, via the Environmental Damages Fund.
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This Golden Paw Print means that this is information that can help make your migration journey successful in the Watershed Defender section.