Cleaner fish are fish that show a specialist feeding strategy by providing a service to other species, referred to as clients, by removing dead skin, ectoparasites, and infected tissue from the surface or gill chambers. This example of cleaning symbiosis represents mutualism and cooperation behaviour, an ecological interaction that benefits both parties involved. However, the cleaner fish may consume mucus or tissue, thus creating a form of parasitism called cheating. The client animals are typically fish of a different species, but can also be aquatic reptiles (sea turtles and marine iguana), mammals (manatees and whales), or octopuses. A wide variety of fish including wrasse, cichlids, catfish, pipefish, lumpsuckers, and gobies display cleaning behaviors across the globe in fresh, brackish, and marine waters but specifically concentrated in the tropics due to high parasite density. Similar behaviour is found in other groups of animals, such as cleaner shrimps.
There are two types of cleaner fish, obligate full time cleaners and facultative part time cleaners where different strategies occur based on resources and local abundance of fish. Cleaning behaviour takes place in pelagic waters as well as designated locations called cleaner stations. Cleaner fish interaction durations and memories of reoccurring clients are influenced by the neuroendocrine system of the fish, involving hormones arginine vasotocin, Isotocin and serotonin. (Full article...)
The following are images from various ecology-related articles on Wikipedia.
Image 1A red-chested cuckoo chick being feed by a significantly smaller Cape robin-chat adult (from Community (ecology))
Image 2A simple trophic cascade diagram. On the right shows when wolves are absent, showing an increase in elks and reduction in vegetation growth. The left one shows when wolves are present and controlling the elk population. (from Community (ecology))
Image 7Wetland habitat types in Borneo (from Habitat)
Image 8Global oceanic and terrestrial phototroph abundance, from September 1997 to August 2000. As an estimate of autotroph biomass, it is only a rough indicator of primary production potential and not an actual estimate of it. (from Ecosystem)
In ecology, the term habitat summarises the array of resources, physical and biotic factors that are present in an area, such as to support the survival and reproduction of a particular species. A species habitat can be seen as the physical manifestation of its ecological niche. Thus "habitat" is a species-specific term, fundamentally different from concepts such as environment or vegetation assemblages, for which the term "habitat-type" is more appropriate.
The physical factors may include (for example): soil, moisture, range of temperature, and light intensity. Biotic factors will include the availability of food and the presence or absence of predators. Every species has particular habitat requirements, with habitat generalist species able to thrive in a wide array of environmental conditions while habitat specialist species requiring a very limited set of factors to survive. The habitat of a species is not necessarily found in a geographical area, it can be the interior of a stem, a rotten log, a rock or a clump of moss; a parasitic organism has as its habitat the body of its host, part of the host's body (such as the digestive tract), or a single cell within the host's body. (Full article...)
Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.