|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
That's a tricky one to answer. I'm struggling to think of desert ecosystem animals, especially parasites. But defining Parasitism, Commensalism and Mutualism is easy. Maybe you could use my definitions of symbiosis to find out more about the desert animals for the project? PARASITISM: (+/-) Where one organism benefits (the parasite) and the other is negatively affected (the host). Although not a desert example, fleas on a dog are a great demonstration of Parasitism at work. COMMENSALISM: (+/--)Where one organism benefits and the other neither benefits nor is negatively affected. Sorry it's a marine example, but barnacles on a whale - the barnacle gets a place to live and relative safety, and the whale seems unaffected. (Commensalism can easily cross the fine line into parasitism - have a think about this one!). MUTUALISM: (+/+)Where one or more organisms benefit from the partnership occuring between them. Clown fish in anemonies and photosynthetic zooxanthallae algae in corals are both examples of an "intimate" relationship occuring between two species. Hope this helps! cheers, Alastair
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