Two is better than one, right? In the oceanic ecosystem, there are many different symbiotic relationships, or biological interactions between two biological organisms. These relationships demonstrate how marine animals not only coexist, but can benefit each other.
One of the most well-known symbiotic relationships is that between sea anemones and clownfish. The clownfish is one of the only species that can survive the sea anemones’ sting. It will form a layer of mucus to protect itself from any future stings, allowing it to inhabit the sea anemone. In return, clownfish clean the anemone, keep predators away and provide it with nutrients.
Another interesting symbiotic relationship takes place between goby fish and snapping shrimp. While snapping shrimp construct burrows in the seabed, the goby fish will stand guard from predators. The goby fish will even hover over the snapping shrimp to protect it. When the goby fish senses danger, it will wag its tail against the snapping shrimp’s antennae or the burrow and warn the snapping shrimp of the incoming danger.
Many reef-building coral species have a symbiotic relationship with a photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae. Coral offers algae the shelter and resources necessary for photosynthesis. The coral then utilizes the byproducts of photosynthesis to secrete a calcium carbonate skeleton, which is how reefs grow!
Stay tuned for more animal updates!