marine communities ch 16 key terms 1
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Marine Communities (Ch. 16) Key terms (1). A community is comprised of the many populations of organisms that interact at a particular location. A population is a group of organisms of the same species occupying a specific area.

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marine communities ch 16 key terms 1
Marine Communities (Ch. 16)Key terms (1)
  • A communityis comprised of the many populations of organisms that interact at a particular location.
  • A populationis a group of organisms of the same species occupying a specific area.
  • A habitatis an organism’s “address” within its community, its physical location. Each habitat has a degree of environmental uniformity.
marine communities ch 16 key terms 2
Marine Communities (Ch. 16)Key terms (2)
  • An organism’s nicheis its “occupation” or role within that habitat, its relationship to food and enemies, an expression of what the organism is doing.
  • Physical (abiotic) and biological (biotic) factors in the environment determine the location and composition of a community.
biomes and ecosystems

Biomes and Ecosystems

Biomes are defined as "the world's major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment" (Campbell, 1996). Examples are marine, desert, forest.

An Ecosystem is a distinct entity (smaller than a biome) with defined physical boundaries, distinct abiotic conditions, an energy source, and a community of interacting organisms through which energy is transferred (ex: tide pool, estuary; coral reef)
coral reefs are the most densely populated and diverse communities
Coral Reefs Are the Most Densely Populated and Diverse Communities

The coral reef habitat.

(a) A diagrammatic view.

(b) Key

what is symbiosis
What is symbiosis?
  • Symbiosis (from the Greek roots sym: “together with” and bio: “living”) is a close, prolonged association between organisms of different species that may benefit one or both members (parasitism; commensalism; mutualism).
Parasitism (+, -)
  • Parasitism: benefits one species and harms the other (+,-).
  • Examples: the Sea Lamprey feeding on the blood of a host fish; the isopod feeding on the tongue of a host fish
commensalism 0
Commensalism (+, 0)
  • Commensalism is a relationship in which one partner derives some benefit while the other is unaffected. Ex: the man-of-war fish, which lives among the tentacles of the Portuguese man-of-war; the remora, which attaches itself to larger pelagic animals including sharks and rays for protection, transportation and scraps of food.
Mutualism (+, +)
  • Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship in which both organisms benefit. The organisms may be animals, plants, algae or bacteria. Ex: the clown fish and the anemone; coral polyps and zooxanthellae (algae); and cleaner shrimp, which clean a wide variety of other parasites from reef fishes such as the moray eel.

The fish and the shrimp live together in a symbiotic relationship where the shrimp digs and cleans up a burrow and the fish warn the almost blind shrimp against predators.


The crab carries a pair of sea urchins in its claws. When predators approach the crab, it waves the urchins, which present their sharp spines. The crab gets protection and the sea urchins get the particles of food that are dropped by the crab. The urchin gets transported to more food sources.


The seahorse is camouflaged by the sea fan, avoiding predation. Seahorse benefits and no harm is done to the host.


The barnacle penetrates the crab’s shell rendering the crab infertile and impairing the crab’s normal molting process. The female barnacle will lay her eggs in the crab’s pouch. The crab’s instinct will be to continue along caring for the eggs as if they were her own.


The pearl fish is a type of mesoparasite. It detects chemicals given off by the sea cucumber and enters the sea cucumber when it participates in gas exchange and breaths in water. The sea cucumber attempts to eject the pearl fish by expelling most of their digestive tract out through their anus. This can be detrimental for the sea cucumber.

evolutionary significance
Evolutionary significance
  • Mutualism and commensalism are hypothesized to have originated from parasitic relationships.
  • If this is true, then host organisms, through evolutionary adaptation, selected traits that allowed them to take advantage of parasitic behavior and that led to mutually beneficial relationships in some cases.