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Some days ago, I was thinking (partially) about the complex balance that is needed for an ecosystem to exist. I got curious about the existence of some sort of critical point, something - that when taken out of the system - makes life vanish.

Is there a single species that when took out of one ecosystem destroys the life in it? Perhaps there's not a single species, perhaps there could be a minimal set of species in which this could happen.

Excuse me for the poorly formulated question. I'm not a biology student, I just get random curiosities from time to time.

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You will definitely be interested in reading on the concept of ecosystem resilience –  Remi.b Jun 21 '14 at 8:18
Another (overlapping) interesting place to look: the concept of keystone species. –  Thomas Ingalls Jun 23 '14 at 4:35

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