Environmental Conditioning: Species shape their response to sharing resources depending on whether they find themselves in a sparse or surplus environment. Jennifer Chu of MIT News Office writes: “Clownfish fight off predators of anemones that in turn provide habitats for the clownfish, an example of mutualism. But mutualistic relationships aren’t always set in stone; depending on environmental conditions, once-simpatico species can become competitors.”
Photo Credit & Source: MIT News
In “A mutual breakdown” (August 24, 2016), Chu writes:
Studying two similar strains of yeast, the researchers found that this deterioration in relations is marked by multiple transitions in the species’ degree of codependence. What’s more, such mutualistic relations tend to break down in more “benign” environments, such as nutrient-rich conditions, in which each species isn’t required to rely solely on the other to survive.
In laboratory experiments, Gore and his colleagues studied the interactions between normally mutualistic strains of yeast that cross-feed, each producing a needed amino acid for the other.
The researchers supplied gradually increasing amounts of nutrients to the yeast and observed population changes in strains grown both together and apart. They found that in nutrient-poor conditions, both strains did better together than they did alone, forming more mutualistic relationships in which each strain depended heavily on the other. The opposite was true in conditions with more plentiful nutrients: The strains seemed to do worse together, with one dominating strain that grew in size while the other dwindled and eventually collapsed.While this study has not been extrapolated to other species, notably high form ones—like humans or other primates—or to inter-species relationships in terms of resource allocation, it does raise interesting questions on how better social and economic conditions might not always lead to more co-operation. The follow-through question is, Why this is so? And under what conditions do humans feel compelled to share their resources?
It takes something more, an understanding and appreciation of the value of sharing resources—an enlightened mind and an open heart—to bring this about in a meaningful and significant way. Intelligence alone or the employment of a mind solely dedicated to rationalism will not suffice. It might actually work against it, giving justification for selfishness.
For more, go to [MITNews]