The relationships in natural ecosystems between living beings are not homogeneous. When two individuals of different species interact in a way that is satisfactory for both, the phenomenon of mutualism occurs. It can be said that the established relationship is like a pact in which each provides the other with an adaptive or any other advantage.
Consequently, it is a reciprocal relationship that is positive for two different living beings, because with the bond created, the possibilities of survival increase in some sense.
Types of Mutualism
The symbiotic is a modality of “alliance” in which two different individuals interact physically and this forces them to remain united in order to survive. An example of this version would be the birds that are on the back of some mammals (the bird feels protected and in compensation it eliminates some parasites from the protective animal ).
The asymbiotic consists of two organisms that lead separate lives, but each depends on the other to survive. A typical example occurs between insects and flowers in the pollination process .
There is also the trophic mutualism, which consists of the collaboration between two organisms to obtain food. Defensive mutualism is based on the idea of getting food or protection in exchange for some form of defense. Finally, the dispersive type aims to exchange food for transport.
Other modalities of symbiotic relationships and their extrapolation to human relationships
Commensalism among living beings occurs when one organism obtains a concrete benefit, but the other receives nothing in return (for example, when birds create their nests in trees, they do not benefit in any sense).
In parasitism there is an unequal relationship, as one organism achieves something and the other is harmed.
Predation in nature is based on a basic principle: a predator hunts prey to survive.
The concepts of mutualism, commensalism, parasitism and predation are somehow applicable to other living beings, humans.
In this sense, we are complex animals, as we practice mutualism when we cooperate disinterestedly with each other. Commensalism when we exploit the abilities of others for our benefit, parasitism when we live directly from others and become social parasites, and predation when we eliminate or kill other individuals for some specific purpose.