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indicator species

See at indicator (def 6). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for indicator species
  • Seasonal pool indicator species rely on seasonal pools as essential habitat.
  • Some are considered by scientists to be indicator species and are a way of telling whether or not a river or lake is polluted.
  • The species is also used as indicator species in severely polluted systems and is sometimes the only species found in these areas.
indicator species in Science
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for indicator 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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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