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indicator species

noun
1.
See at indicator (def 6).
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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

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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