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Relationships in Biology involved

Updated on August 14, 2012


The term symbiosis (from the Greek: συμ, sym, "with"; and βίοσίς, biosis, "living") commonly describes close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. The term was first used in 1879 by the German mycologist, Heinrich Anton de Bary, who defined it as: "the living together of unlike organisms". New Latin, from German Symbiose, from Greek symbiōsis state of living together, from symbioun to live together, from symbios living together, from syn- + bios life. Inter-actions or inter-relationships of 2 or more different organisms.

Although the term is mainly and only applicable to the lower life forms, being in lined with study and with constant mingling with other people, I find it intriguing not to apply them to human. Man's Binomial name as Homo sapiens, Homo-the genus and sapiens- species, only mean that there is (as for now) only one known species of man, existing today, thus exempting the term to be applied to humans.

I would like to personally apply what I learned from these symbioses or ralationships to the highest form- us.

MUTUALISM- the "Give and Take" Relationship

The term Mutualism describes any relationship between individuals of different species where both individuals derive a fitness benefit. Generally only lifelong interactions involving close physical and biochemical contact, can properly be considered symbiotic. Mutualistic relationships, may be either obligate for both species, obligate for one but facultative for the other, or facultative for both. Many biologists restrict the definition of symbiosis to close mutualist relationships.

Another example is the goby fish, which sometimes lives together with a shrimp. The shrimp digs and cleans up a burrow in the sand in which both the shrimp and the goby fish live. The shrimp is almost blind leaving it vulnerable to predators when above ground. In case of danger the goby fish touches the shrimp with its tail to warn it. When that happens both the shrimp and goby fish quickly retract into the burrow.

Some blind men use the aid from an eye dog. The canine senses and guides his master down the streets, crossing or strolling in the park and warns, prevents him from some accidents, while the master shelters the dog, feeds and pay attention to it. This is a well accepted canine-man relationship.

As for man to man relationships, these are the real partners, the give and take relationship. Each one tries to be of help to one another, can be financially, physically or emotionally beneficial to each one. Such setting contributes to the growth, development and success of the persons involved. The husband works for the living, wife takes care of the children and house, husband and wife lives harmoniously and complements each other.

COMMENSALISM- Taking without giving or harming

Commensalism describes a relationship between two living organisms where one benefits and the other is not significantly harmed or helped. It is derived from the English word commensal, meaning the sharing of food, and used of human social interaction. The word derives from the Latin com mensa, meaning sharing a table.

Commensal relationships may involve an organism using another for transportation (phoresy), for housing (inquilinism), or it may also involve an organism using something another created, after the death of the first (metabiosis). An example is the hermit crabs that use gastropod shells to protect their bodies. Further examples include spiders building their webs on trees.

Many of the bacteria living in our large intestine. They feed on food in the gut and do not harm us. And some probably help us; that is, the relationship is mutualistic. Animals (e.g., mice) raised under germfree conditions are abnormal in several ways, and it is now standard practice to deliberately infect them with several species of microorganisms so that the animals develop normally.

In humans, commensalism is exhibitted when someone tries to use anyone for the purpose of self gratification, to boost himself but totally not stepping down on the other. Some co worker may ask you favor on something they don't know much about, a presentation style and skill, some useful informations about your superiors or how to deal with the project. He gets promoted to higher rank, and thank you for your help, doing a research paper for a best friend, "for a cause", you just want to help him.


A parasitic relationship is one in which one member of the association benefits while the other is harmed.Parasitic symbioses take many forms, from endoparasites that live within the host's body, to ectoparasites that live on its surface. In addition, parasites may be necrotrophic, which is to say they kill their host, or biotrophic, meaning they rely on their host surviving. Biotrophic parasitism is an extremely successful mode of life. Depending on the definition used, as many as half of all animals have at least one parasitic phase in their life cycles, and it is also frequent in plants and fungi. Moreover, almost all free-living animals are host to one or more parasite taxa.

"Hit and run" parasites are those that live in their host for a brief period and then move on to another with or without killing the first. Most parasites establish chronic infections. Both parasite and host must evolve to ensure the survival of both because if the parasite kills its host before it can move on, it destroys its own meal ticket.

This is the worst relationship I had experience! And the most common dreaded disease of society. Usery...being abused and being destroyed, devastated eventually. Domestic violence, force sex, bribery and scandals, what more can a "parasite" do than harm you... after they had got almost everything from you?


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    • Eaglekiwi profile image

      Eaglekiwi 8 years ago from -Oceania

      I found this very interesting and deep....but not hard to understand. Thankyou for sharing.....makes me think about my own story too Biology maybe?

    • Indigenous profile image

      Indigenous 8 years ago from Earth

      The best hub I've red so far. Thank YOU!