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Indicator Species

Indicator species are a valuable measuring tool for the health of an ecosystem. Their presence, or absence, can help determine wether an ecosystem is thriving or suffering. Waterfowl are one of the best indicator species for aquatic habitats. In the presence of abundant waterfowl, one can safely assume that the locale is healthy and has ample resources (invertebrates, fish, plant matter) to host the waterfowl and serve their needs.
In a recent publication of the journal “Ecological Indicators”, https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/pii/S1470160X21006312, a study has stated that the scaly-sided merganser plays an important role as an indicator species of riparian habitats in the Changbai Mountains of China. The scaly-sided merganser is an endangered species heavily affected by habitat loss. One of the many interesting notes in this study is the potential advantage of using an endangered species, like the merganser, because of their sensitivity to environmental changes.

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