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Mutualism Definition

Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship where both organisms benefit. For example, the anemone protects the clownfish, which wards off its predators.

View Lesson on Symbiosis (Interactions Between Organisms)
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Symbiosis (Interactions Between Organisms)

Fun Facts

  • Ants burrow into acacia tress to eat sugars and also give the trees protection from other animals.
  • Termites can't digest wood without mutualistic bacteria in their stomachs.
  • Mutually beneficial interactions may become so interdependent that each organism requires the other for survival.

Why Do We Need To Know About Mutualism

Learning about mutualism helps us get why relationships in nature are important for keeping things balanced. For example, cleaner shrimp eat parasites off fish, which is good for both. This is useful in real jobs like ecology and marine biology.

Knowing about these helpful relationships lets ecologists take actions to protect nature, like bringing wolves back to Yellowstone to keep animal numbers in check. Understanding mutualism is key for keeping nature healthy and for science jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are different types of symbiosis?
Competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism
How is predation essential to maintaining an ecosystem?
Without predators, organisms that are prey (like the rabbit in the video) would become overpopulated in an ecosystem. Eventually, they would eat all of the plants, become sickly, and/or die of starvation.
What do food webs show about an ecosystem?
Food webs show where each organism gets its energy from.
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