Little things mean a lot. Take, for example, a “keystone species.” These are species that are crucial to their ecosystems; destroying them can wreak irreparable damage. Lions, tigers, and elephants aren’t on the list—the spotted owl and the brine shrimp are. Keystone species are often creatures you don’t notice until they’re gone. The lichen, a colonizing organism that can revitalize soil devastated by volcanic ash, fix its own nitrogen, and disintegrate rocks, may seem dispensable—it’s only...
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