What is mutualism?

What Does mutualism Mean

The concept of mutualism has several uses. The most frequent appears in the field of economics and politics to name a doctrine and movement that promotes the activity of mutuals .

A mutual, also known as mutuality , is an institution that lacks profit and is governed under the precept of mutual assistance . The members of a mutual work in a coordinated and supportive way to provide services to the members of the association.
Mutualism, therefore, seeks to promote the activity of mutuals, which are usually financed through contributions or fees from their partners. This movement appears in various sectors of the economy, such as the provision of credit , insurance services and others.

As a theory of political economy , mutualism is the philosophy that promotes an organization of society that lacks a state and in which commercial exchange is carried out through barter, seeking equivalences between the work done and the product that is receives. According to mutualism, producers can organize themselves into cooperative institutions that, in turn, are grouped into a large centralized federation.
Within the field of biology , mutualism is a type of interaction carried out by beings of different species, obtaining benefits for all those involved. Species that maintain such a bond cooperate with each other. An example of biological mutualism occurs between bees and the flowers they pollinate.
Among living beings, mutual relations are also comparable to barter, since each species offers certain resources or services in exchange for others. Let's look at the different types of biological mutualism that are known so far:
* resource-resource : it is a type of relationship in which one resource is exchanged for another, and it is the most common form of mutualism. It occurs, for example, between fungi and plant roots, when they provide carbohydrates in exchange for minerals (mainly phosphates and nitrates) and water . Legume plants (annual or perennial herbs, trees and shrubs characterized mainly by their legume-shaped fruit and their stipulated and compound leaves) and nitrogen-fixing rhizobia (bacteria that establish in the root nodules of the former) exchange carbohydrates for nitrogen;

* service-resource : it is another type of mutualism very common in nature. An example well known to all is pollination, an exchange in which bees offer plants the service of dispersing gametes (pollen) and receiving the nectar or pollen they need. In the same way, ants and aphids also have a service-resource relationship, since the former provide the latter with protection from the attacks of their predators and in return they expect honeydew or honeydew (a by-product of the sap, extracted from plants by aphids);
* service-service : it is known to be the least common type of mutualism, although science has failed to understand the reason for its scarcity. It occurs, for example, between the clownfish and the sea anemone, since the first protects the second of the fish belonging to the Chaetodontidae family (whose food source is the anemones) and they offer protection against their predators in return. . But the relationship does not end there, but the clownfish waste serves as food for the symbiotic algae that live in the tentacles of the anemones, increasing the complexity of this case.
Some ants make their nests inside the hollowed spines of plants of the genus Acacia, protecting them against certain herbivores in exchange for the shelter they receive.

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