Symbiosis in nature
In Christianity, it has been said that we really do need each other. God has reflected that idea in His creation. Many animals really do need each other in order to survive. For some, it’s obligatory, for others, it is not essential in order to survive.
Symbiosis is a truly unique process in nature. The eventual outcome of any symbiotic relationship is usually for the best of either or both parties. One must look at this phenomenon at the right angle. For, from the evolutionary point of view, over a long period of time, animals just “learned” by themselves that being involved in a symbiotic relationship is advantageous. This belief, of course is absurd. God created the process of symbiosis in creation in order to give witness to the fact that a universe so complicated and so beautiful had to be made by a omnificent being. Any scientist, unless running away from the plain fact, has to admit that the universe really had to be created intelligently.
Symbiosis may be defined as any relationship between any two species.
Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” defines it as “The living together in permanent or prolonged close association of members of usually two different species, with beneficial or deleterious consequences for at least one of the parties.
Science identifies several distinct types and styles of symbiosis found in nature. Burwell Wingfeild, a biology teacher at Virginia Military Institute, describes these phenomena in Despicable Species: Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges as best being categorized using the “plus-minus system”: the plus sign (+), the minus sign (- -) and the neutral sign (0). The plus sign stands for benefit, the minus sign stands for loss or harm, and the neutral sign means that there is a neutral outcome for each party involved. One example of symbiosis exists between the remora fish and the shark. The remora fish latches onto the shark’s scales in order to clean the shark of harmful parasitic microorganisms. This provides a food source for the remora while obviously providing a major benefit to the shark.
Classifying symbiotic relationships is a lot like classifying animals according to kingdom, phylum, class, order, family…etc, except the structure is a little bit different. When classifying a symbiotic relationship, there are seven styles (instead of kingdoms) of relationships, some with sub-categories, and some without. These styles of symbiosis are Mutualism (+ +), Protocooperation (+ +), Commensalisms (+ 0), Parasitism (+ -), Amensalism (- 0), and Synnecrosis (- -).
Mutualism (+ +)
Mutualism is the first style of symbiosis. It, along with Protocooperation, are both plus-plus relationship. The only difference between these two is that Protocooperation is obligatory while Mutualism, although very beneficial, is not necessary in order either survive.
A good example of Mutualism is between the honeyguide bird and the ratel (also called a...