Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 1982. 13:315-47


Copyright © 1982 by Annual Reviews Inc.


Elementary ecology texts tell us that organisms interact in three fundamen­ tal ways, generally given the names competition, predation, and mutualism. The third member has gotten short shrift (264), and even its name is not generally agreed on. Terms that may be considered synonyms, in whole or part, are symbiosis, commensalism, cooperation, protocooperation, mutual aid, facilitation, reciprocal altruism, and entraide. We use the term mutual­ism, defined as "an interaction between species that is beneficial to both," since it has both historical priority (311) and general currency. Symbiosis is "the living together of two organisms in close association," and modifiers are used to specify dependence on the interaction (facultative or obligate) and the range of species that can take part (oligophilic or polyphilic). We make the normal apologies concerning forcing continuous variation and diverse interactions into simple dichotomous classifications, for these and all subsequent definitions.

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