What is meant by the term symbiosis? - KCSE Biology Essays

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  1. What is meant by the term symbiosis?
    Nutritional association of two different organisms (2 plants or between an animal and plant); for mutual benefit; the relationship enables the composite organism to survive where neither can live on its own;

  2. Describe five types of symbiotic relationships in a natural ecosystem
    Lichens; these are composite plants consisting of blue-green algae; within a mycelial mass of a fungus; algal cells are provided with support, obtain water, carbon (IV) oxide and minerals and protection from fungus; while the fungus obtains oxygen and the carbohydrates made by algae; this enables the plants to survive on hard bare rocks in high attitudes and polar regions;
    Leguminous plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria; the bacteria multiply and fix nitrogen from air into nitrates for the benefit of the plant; bacteria are protected and obtain nutrients from the plants;
    Ruminants and bacteria; the rumen has bacteria that secrete cellulose; that digests cellulose in the food/vegetation consumed by the animal to glucose for the animal; while the bacteria get shelter and use part of digested food;
    Mycorrhizal fungi and higher plants; the fungi found on forest trees gain photosynthetic organic products made by the trees; while the trees get nutrients/minerals absorbed by the fungus from the soil;
    Tryconympha and termites; the former is a protozoan living in gut of termites; and produce cellulase enzyme; that digests cellulose from the plant into digestible products for the benefit of the termite; the termite on the other hand provides shelter and protection; and absorbs some of the food for its use;
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