• Tom Fenchel
Part of the Brock/Springer Series in Contemporary Bioscience book series (BROCK/SPRINGER)


The term “symbiosis” does not have the same meaning to all biologists. Here we use it in the literal sense of “living together,” that is, to describe any physically close association between different species irrespective of the functional significance. Such a general term is necessary because there are many cases where the functional nature of the relationship is not yet understood. Symbiosis thus includes “parasitism,” in which one member of the association, the host, suffers while the parasite gains from the association; “mutualism” in which both components gain from the association; and “commensalism” in which the association is neutral from the viewpoint of one of the components. In the real world, there are gradients between these classes of symbiotic associations; the degree of benefit or harm involved may vary, according to environmental conditions or the genotypes of the components.


Reef Flat Benthic Foraminifera Photosynthetic Organism Planktonic Foraminifera Food Vacuole 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Fenchel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and GeneticsUniversity of AarhusAarhusDenmark

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