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|indicator species |
A species whose presence, absence, or relative well-being in a given environment is a sign of the overall health of its ecosystem. By monitoring the condition and behavior of an indicator species, scientists can determine how changes in the environment are likely to affect other species that are more difficult to study. Compare keystone species.
organism-often a microorganism or a plant-that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale. For example, greasewood indicates saline soil; mosses often indicate acid soil. Tubifex worms indicate oxygen-poor and stagnant water unfit to drink. The presence of certain species of plants suggests how well other species might grow in the same place