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A wide array of interactions among plants, animals, and microorganisms occurs in nature. Some of these relationships are characterized by a close physical association among species that persists for a significant period of the life cycle. In 1879 German botanist einrich anton de bary coined the term "symbiosis" to describe these relationships, meaning the living together of different species of organisms.An interaction is considered a symbiosis based on the closeness of the physical association among the organisms rather than on the effect or outcome of the interaction. Symbiotic relationships span a spectrum from beneficial to detrimental effects. Many people associate symbiosis with mutualism , interactions that are beneficial to the growth, survival, and/or reproduction of both interacting species. But symbiotic interactions also include commensalism (one species receives benefit from the association andCleaner shrimp cleaning a zebra moray eel. Mutualistic relationships such as these promote the well-being of the host fishes and provide food for those that do the cleaning.the other is unaffected), amensalism (one species is harmed, with no effect on the other), and parasitism. An example of commensalism is found in the anemone fish, which gains protection from living among the poisonous tentacles of the sea anemone, but offers no known benefit to its host.

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