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  • An organism which affects the ecological balance of a plant or animal community. (OED 2013)
    symbiosis ecosystem engineer

    Professor Clements kindly suggested the term influent to cover those organisms which have important relations in the biotic balance and interaction.

    Shelford, V.E. (1926). Terms and concepts in animal ecology. Ecology 7, 389.


    In this treatment, animals conceived of as “influents” are defined as animals having very obvious effects on the plants or animals of the community and on the habitat. Major influents are large potent animals; minor influents have lesser effect and are usually smaller.

    Shelford, V.E. & Olson, S. (1935). Sere, climax and influent animals with special reference to the transcontinental coniferous forest of North America. Ecology 16, 375-402: 376.


    the designation of influent is applied to the animal members of the biome by virtue of the influence or coaction they exert in the community. The significance of this effect depends much upon the life-form and to a large degree upon the size and abundance of the species as well, and is seen chiefly in the coactions involved in food, material, and shelter.

    Clements, F.E. (1936). Nature and structure of the climax. Journal of Ecology 24, 252-284: 271.