What is a keystone, just a simple rock?
Or it is a rock to which others flock?
It uses science and other magic like gravitational forces,
To hold up our doors and gates for people, aliens, and horses.
And if it weren’t for the keystone, holding up an arch,
There would be no arch through which we could march.
The rocks would crumble, and fall on our heads,
And if you know anything you know those rocks would leave us dead…Scary rocks.
And rocks are so fun, on and on I could drone…
But there are several definitions to a word such as keystone.
For in the animal kingdom, nothing succeeds alone,
And therefore the animal world also has keystones of it’s own.
So we leave now the topic of architecture and construction,
To talk about species without which we’d face destruction.
The first is adorable, a jewel of the Pacific Northwest,
A creature who likes to eat Sea Urchins best.
And Sea Urchins prove to be rude dinner guests,
As they eat all the kelp, and leave none for the rest.
And many other species require the kelp,
It’s food for the crabs and offers fleeing fish help.
But the urchins can’t eat it all if they are the fodder,
Of the heroic appetite of the legendary sea otter!
We now venture to the Sonoran Desert, to meet a small guy,
Who is ever so important, and ever so spry.
He darts quickly low, he darts quickly high,
He helps pollinate plants, and many cacti.
But without the help of our little friend,
The little friend on who the flora depends,
Then sometimes comes to town a notorious ass,
A notorious ass by the name of buffelgrass.
Buffelgrass is known to be a hog with the water,
And puts other plant species through a slow burning slaughter.
But only in places that have never heard,
Of the small but ever so mighty hummingbird!
Prairie Dogs are the same when it comes to their surrounding soil,
They keeps water levels high, so grass mustn’t toil.
Their foraging the grass makes it grow back longer,
So the bison and elk can eat it and get stronger.
Elephants eat trees to keep forests from growing,
So that the grass in “grassland” remains to be showing.
Mountain Lions control huge areas of herbivore populations,
So that the local trees and roots don’t undergo mass termination.
Seastars, the very first species compared to granite,
Keeps the population low in tide pools dammit!
These species control other creatures from running amuck,
And if they didn’t all other species would be fucked!
Thanks to the species that we call keystone,
They keep ecosystems alive so that we humans don’t live here alone.
So next time you walk through a door in a rush,
Remember it’s species like these that keep you from being crushed.