Algae. Not only does algae serve as a source of food for many of the other life forms in the lake, but it also serves many other purposes. The most important in my mind is pollution control. With all the waste put out, some of it is bound to end up in the lake systems. Algae serves as a natural filter, because it absorbs pretty much anything. For this reason, algae is used to treat sewage, catch fertilizer run off on farms, and filter aquariums and ponds. Algae has even been used in developing more biodegradable plastics in an attempt to move away from petroleum based plastics that are not as environment friendly.
kline47 gave a good answer, but there is also another perspective. kline37’s answer assumes the question is something like “What species is a lake most dependent upon?”
But if the question is “What species is directly the most economically important to humans?”, the answer would be something else, probably game fish such as trout and salmon. These fish not only have commercial value, but they attract huge numbers of tourists, and tourism is one of the largest businesses in the world.
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