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Is there a type of symbiosis where an organism is harmed and the other is neither harmed nor helped?

If not, do you think there's a term for this sort of relation between two organisms?

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I see that there exists some confusion over the meaning of Symbiosis itself [in reference to the comments and answer(s)].

Your question/ query seeking information about "some type of Symbiosis" that harms one organism without affecting the other in any form is very much legitimate.

Amensalism (as responded by Sanjukta) is indeed the answer, but saying that "No. There seems to be no intimate association (symbiosis) that does not benefit any partner" is suggesting that Amensalism is not Symbiosis (which is not true).

Amensalism is one of the types of symbiotic associations only (Symbiosis is nothing but 'Living Together' of two / more organisms - which may or may not benefit/ harm either or both or none of the parties involved in the association).

Point to be taken is that, Symbiotic relation refers to the members of two different species (i.e., two populations) engaging in interaction and the interaction can be of any type (Amensalism is just another Symbiotic association).

Edit: If one looks into the Etymology of the word, Symbiosis, he/she should be able to decipher the meaning of Symbiosis:

enter image description here

One may support the argument using latest updation of Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology (Amensalism=Symbiosis) and the classical example of Walnut tree (which tends to kill or inhibit the growth of shrubs that grow around its roots) may be cited. Their growth is inhibited, but their niche still remains the same. More importantly, the Honeybee - wasp relationship (a long term one) is best fit for Symbiotic Ammensalism.

So, Mutualism, Commensalism, Amensalism, are all Symbiotic Relations.

References:

Miami College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biotechnology Lecture Notes

Wiki Link about Biological Interactions

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  • $\begingroup$ The books I've been referring to do not include Amensalism as a symbiosis. Symbiosis is not a synonym of biological interaction. It is an association,often phrased 'intimate association' between two species(something that doesn't exist between amensals). Book. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jan 12 '17 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Sanjukta, I just added the Etymology of Symbiosis, hope that helps in clearing the doubt... $\endgroup$ – JALO - JusAnotherLivngOrganism Jan 12 '17 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes it is so. But amensals do not live together. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jan 12 '17 at 8:08
  • $\begingroup$ This reference is from the latest updation of Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Biology (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012800049600189X) and the classical example of Walnut tree (which tends to kill or inhibit the growth of shrubs that grow around its roots) may be cited. Their growth is inhibited, but their niche still remains the same. More importantly, the Honeybee - wasp relationship (a long term one) is best fit for Symbiotic Ammensalism. But I very well acknowledge the point you are trying to put forth. I guess, it's a clash of two different schools of thoughts.. $\endgroup$ – JALO - JusAnotherLivngOrganism Jan 12 '17 at 8:45
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Is there a type of symbiosis where an organism is harmed and the other is neither harmed nor helped?

No. There seems to be no intimate association (symbiosis) that does not benefit any partner.

If not, do you think there's a term for this sort of relation between two organisms?

Yes, Amensalism is the biological interaction you are talking about in which one organism inflicts harm to another organism without any loss or benefit to itself.

A clear case of amensalism is where sheep or cattle trample grass. The presence of the grass causes negligible detrimental effects to the animal's hoof but the grass suffers from being crushed.

For more read wikiedia.

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    $\begingroup$ And good to add that strictly speaking, it's not exactly a symbiosis $\endgroup$ – BioGeo Dec 22 '16 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ @BioGeo Yeah. It'll add it to the answer. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Dec 23 '16 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ @BioGeo It seems there is huge etymological mess up with the terms Symbiosis and Mutualism. My textbook, Concepts of Ecology/ EJ Kormody / 4th edn; uses the term Symbiosis to include all-sorts interspecific biological interaction. That even includes predation! (Chapter 11, page No. 233). $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Dec 25 '16 at 5:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AlwaysConfused To be honest, symbiosis etymology means living together. Depending on the perspective, we could take it as mutualism or as all kinds of interactions... But maybe if one dies in that interaction, there is not really "living" together... hehe $\endgroup$ – BioGeo Dec 25 '16 at 10:35
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    $\begingroup$ @BioGeo Exactly. And What we've taught as "mutualism" or "mutualistic-symbiosis" at my college and university classes; the same thing was taught in the name "symbiosis" at school level and old-books. It seems to me the original meaning of "symbiosis" is what is now called mutualism; but later-on the usage got changed. $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Dec 25 '16 at 13:14

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