Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Symbiotic Relationships: Oophila & Salamander

So, let’s talk symbiotic relationships. Scientists have apparently long known that salamanders and algae have close ties. These little green algae called Oophila (or “egg lover” in latin) grow better in water exposed to salamander eggs/embryos and salamander embryos are much healthier and survive much better when grown alongside the algae. But why?

Well, recently in 2011, scientists found that Oophila actually live inside salamander egg embryos. They thrive off of the carbon dioxide created by the embryo as well as nitrogen waste and, in return, give the embryo much needed oxygen. Since salamander eggs are made of a moist, gelatinous substance, and that jelly substance keeps the inside from drying out, the embryo often has a hard time getting enough oxygen to survive. However, through the symbiotic relationship of salamander eggs and Oophila, both are able to benefit and generally live better, stronger lives than if they were separated. Scientists, however, are not sure how far into adulthood this relationship continues, but they do have evidence that the algae have continued within some salamanders into adult stages.
Source: earthsky.org/earth/algae-found-living-inside-salamander-embryos

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