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Symbiosis Through Time
Transcript of Symbiosis Through Time
What is Symbiosis
A journey through time and ocean depths reveals worlds where extraordinary organisms survive in extreme environments. These creatures have thrived in the low-oxygen sediment of the coasts to those of the deep sea for the past 542 million years. Organisms are able to thrive in these harsh environments by forming mutually beneficial relationships with bacteria and algae through a process called
Cenozoic coastal habitats are home to many chemosymbiotic bivalves.
The symbionts that are essential to the host's survival are rarely preserved as fossils.
: when one organism interacts with another organism in a way that benefits one or both organisms.
is an organism that participates in a symbiotic association.
are symbionts that live inside the body or cells of another organism.
organisms use carbon molecules to oxidize sulfide or methane which is then converted into organic matter as a source of energy.
Both the symbiont and host benefit.
The symbiont benefits with little effect on the host.
The symbiont benefits to
the detriment of the host.
Dawson, J. A.
Yellowmargin Moray Eel (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus) with a White Banded Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis). Shuttershock.com
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(2010) New Horned Dinosaurs from Utah Provide Evidence for Intracontinental Dinosaur Endemism. PLoS ONE 5(9): e12292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012292.
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Today, at modern cold-seeps and hydrothermal vents, at depths where little life can survive, symbiotic clams and worms create the most productive community on Earth.
In today’s oceans, corals are the main reef builders. Coral and their symbionts, are essential in providing homes to fish while maintaining carbon dioxide levels in the world’s oceans.
Symbiotic corals have algae inside each individual coral polyp. The coral produces carbon dioxide for the algae while the algae provides oxygen for the coral.
The Paleozoic had two types of coral, tabulate and rugose. Tabulate corals were colonial and formed honeycomb patterns, while rugose were horn shaped.
At the end of the Mesozoic, a shallow ocean called the Western Interior Seaway covered the middle of North America. Deep at the bottom of this seaway were hydrocarbon cold-seeps with lucinid clams, inoceramids, and vestimentiferan worms (tube worms), all believed to be chemosymbiotic. This environment, and the fossils have been preserved, are visible today in South Dakota's Teppe Buttes.
Did you know?
Clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones!
A group of clams, the Lucinidae, are found in the sediment of mangrove forests and in 97% of all tropical seagrass beds worldwide.
When coral become stressed due to changing ocean temperature and pollution, algae abandon it leaving the coral unhealthy and vulnerable to disease.
In addition to the corals being symbitotic, reef sediments are home to many chemosymbiotic organisms such as worms, nematodes, and clams.
SDSM&T students are comparing differences in the diversity at the Western Interior Seaway to Gulf of Mexico cold-seeps.
Modern symbiotic organisms living in specific habitats are compared to extinct organisms and symbiosis is inferred to have occured in multiple groups throughout time.
(ex: Remoras riding a manta ray)
(ex: Reef fish afflicted by velvet)
(ex: cleaner shrimp eat dead skin, preventing health issues for their host)
Symbioses form the foundation of seagrass ecosystems, however, seagrass beds are declining at an alarming rate worldwide. Despite restoration attempts, symbiotic interactions are being ignored.
Dr. Laurie Anderson at SDSM&T is investigating lucinid chemosymbioses from coastal biomes that range from pristine to highly altered conditions to understand potential biodiversity losses due to humans.