Mutualism, Parasitism, and Commensalism

In an ecosystem, there must be interactions between the various species in order for the organisms to survive and continue the circle of life. Every ecosystem has to have these interactions or that ecosystem will not survive. These interactions are called symbioses. There are a total of three types of biotic symbioses: Mutualism, Parasitism, and Commensalism.

Mutualism is the interaction between two or more organisms where both organisms can benefit from the interaction. An example of mutualism is a Clownfish and a Sea Anemone. The clownfish benefits from the sea anemone by providing shelter from predators by hiding inside of the sea anemone’s poisonous arms. The clownfish benefits the sea anemone by consuming parasites that may be on it and providing nutrients from its excrements.

Parasitism is the interaction between two species where only one benefits from the other organism and the other is harmed in return. The one that benefits from the other organism is called a parasite, while the organism that is being harmed is called a host. Examples of parasitism are Phronima and Salps, a type of zooplanyton. The Phronima is a parasite and the Salps are the hosts.

Finally, there is Commensalism, which is one of the harder types of interactions. Commensalism is when two species interact and one benefits, but the other organism is neither harmed nor benefited. Examples of commensalism are barnacles that grow on whales.

Posted by i3christophertur i3christophertur, October 21, 2015 00:16

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