What is Symbiosis?

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Normally when people talk about “symbiosis”, they’re talking about two or more different organisms cooperating to better survive and reproduce. The classical definition of symbiosis is actually much broader than this, and for good reason. Here we will look how evolutionary biologists understand symbiosis, all its different forms, and why it matters!

==== SOURCES ====

SQUIRRELS VS TREES: EVOLUTIONARY ARMS RACE
How plants manipulate the scatter-hoarding behavior of seed-dispersing animals: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830241/

Evolutionary interactions between tree squirrels and trees: A review and synthesis: https://www.jstor.org/stable/24103182?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Can acorn tannin predict scrub-jay cashing behavior: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:JOEC.0000006411.68081.14

TICKS AND OPOSSUMS
Individual opossums can kill and eat over 5,000 ticks per week during during tick larval activity peaks in the state of New York: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2009.1159

New York Times Overview of the research linked above (note, in this article they say 5,000 per season, but the paper itself says 5,000 per week during tick larval season which can last up to 2 months) https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Robert-Miller-Opossums-killers-of-ticks-5413872.php

CHOLERA EVOLVE TOWARD COMMENSALISM
Paper on the evolution of virulence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587421/

TED talk by Paul Ewald, outlining his work on Cholera “Can we domesticate germs?”: https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_ewald_asks_can_we_domesticate_germs?language=en

==== NOTE ====
The claim that caching acorns allows rainwater to leach out the tannins was confirmed by one study (the blue-jay paper above), but results failed to be duplicated in a followup study.

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