Some intelligent species of ants herd, collect and protect the aphids from any danger. These ants treat aphids like cattle because aphids produce a sweet and nutritious syrup named honeydew syrup. The interaction between both species is an example of mutualism, a type of relationship between two organisms in nature.
Mutualism is defined as the positive relationship between two similar or different types of organisms found in nature. Both of these organisms will have positive interactions with one another and will work together for the benefit of both organisms. These do not only include wild animals, but they will also include the social mutualism found in the everyday lives of humans. There are even mutualistic interactions between plants, animals, fungi, and even bacteria.
The essential elements that make up a mutually beneficial relationship or a mutualistic relationship can be easily noted and identified. These elements are the following: both parties are benefitting from the relationship or interaction, limited or no harm from the interaction is inflicted on either of the parties, both organisms are near each other or appear next to each other, and finally, if organisms take an active part in their interactions.
Begin by writing out the list of benefits both organisms are obtaining from each other via their interactions. This can be easily done by writing out the advantages and noting how well these advantages affect the quality of life of the organism. Often, both organisms are not equally benefitting from each other, but it is still considered a mutualistic relationship.
After taking note of the advantages of the relationship and interaction between both organisms, it is time to check for the disadvantages created by their interactions. You will then need to compare both the advantages and disadvantages of the relationship and interaction. A mutualistic relationship will often have advantages that outweigh the disadvantages caused by the respective relationship and interactions between the two organisms.
For the relationship to be mutualistic, both organisms must either spend most of their time together or in proximity to one another. An example of this is the interaction and relationship between a goby fish and a snapping shrimp, as both organisms protect, fend for one another, and have a shared shelter or burrow.
This part does not dictate if the relationship is mutualistic, instead, it indicates what type of mutualistic relationship both organisms have. If one of the organisms does not actively work to benefit the relationship it will be considered indirect mutualism, while the opposite is called direct mutualism.
The definition of mutualism is that it is a relationship found in nature where both organisms benefit from their partnership. Both organisms can form a mutualistic relationship unintentionally, which acts as a precursor to the relationship between both organisms. Commensalism is a relationship between both organisms where one only benefits from the relationship while the other isn’t positively or negatively affected by the relationship. You can often find a commensalism relationship in nature without the other organism knowing, which is usually unintentionally done by the benefitting organism.
Ecology is a specific branch of Biology that deals with the relationships between organisms found in nature. These organisms can range from terrestrial to aquatic animals living on our planet. Whilst Biology is the study of living organisms on our planet. People often use Biology as the umbrella term for anything related to the study of living organisms on our planet. If you want to focus your study on the mutualistic relationships between organisms, then it is best to specialize in Ecology rather than Biology.
The basic definition of symbiosis is the positive or negative relationship between two species. Using this definition, a mutualistic symbiosis is a mutualistic relationship between two organisms of different species. An example of a mutualistic symbiosis is the relationship between clownfishes and anemones. Clownfishes are immune to the anemone’s poison and can eat any parasites that threaten the life of the anemone. While the anemone protects the clownfish from more giant predators, the anemone often acts as the shelter for said clownfishes.
Mutualism often is a great organic relationship found in nature that ensures the survival of two or more species of organisms. These relationships are a testament to the adaptability and social ability of any living organism in this world.