Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Relationship protects from predators: clownfish, anemones
 

Clownfish and anemones gain protection from predators thanks to their mutualistic relationship.

     
  "For protection, clownfish seek refuge amongst the tentacles of sea anemones. The tentacles contain harpoon-like stinging capsules called nematocysts that the anemones employ to capture prey and ward off predators.

In a yet-to-be resolved biological mystery, clownfish have mucus on their skin that somehow protects them against the sting of their host anemone. As a result, the clownfish are able to stick near their host which is avoided by most other fish in the sea.

'The clownfish gets protection by hiding sting-free among the tentacles. If you remove the clownfish, large butterfly fishes will eat the anemone,' said John Randall, an ichthyologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Butterfly fish are predators of the sea anemone. In certain areas of the tropics where clownfish, sea anemone, and butterfly fish exist, clownfish scare off butterflyfish from their host anemone. Research has shown that if the clownfish are removed from the anemone, butterfly fish will move in and devour the anemone. So, the protection of the anemone afforded by the clownfish is part of the mutual relationship.

In addition to scaring off predators, some scientists speculate that clownfish waste may serve as a nutrient for the anemones…

There are more than 1,000 species of sea anemones found throughout the world's oceans. Only ten of these species share their niche with clownfish, which thrive in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Each individual host anemone is home to one group of clownfish, which contain a dominant breeding pair and up to four smaller, subordinate fish. There are 28 known species of clownfish, so more than one species of clownfish may take to any given species of anemone." (Roach 2003)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Fautin, D. G. 1991. The anemonefish symbiosis: What is known and what is not. Symbiosis. 10(1): 23-46.
  • John Roach. 2003. No Nemo: Anemones, Not Parents, Protect Clownfish. National Geographic News [Internet], Accessed August 27, 2007.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© The Biomimicry Institute

Source: AskNature

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Functional adaptation

Supportive gel enables extreme shape change: sea anemone
 

The supportive gel-like substance (mesoglea) of sea anemones allows extreme shape changing due to its viscoelasticity.

     
  "Consider a solid material with properties and role about as distant from bone as a supportive, compression-resisting material can be. The body wall of a sea anemone--which can be quite substantial in size--consists of inner and outer surface layers separated by the thick mesoglea. One doesn't go far wrong viewing the system as a tall can of seawater whose walls are mostly made of jelly…A typical anemone has a rare facility for changing shape, ranging from a low barrel to a tall cylinder with a few flourishes in between, over times ranging from seconds to hours…Obviously its mesogleal stuffing must participate in the process. Muscle drives some of the shape changes, in particular the sudden expulsion of water in the central cavity from its single apical opening. But tracts of cilia drive other changes, such as reinflation by pumping water back in. You may recall thatciliary pumps produce exceedingly low pressures, and here we're asking that they pump up creatures that may reach half a meter in height and live in moving water.

Alexander (1962) showed the crucial role of mesogleal viscoelasticity for anemones. In creep tests on samples, strain increased from an initial value of about 0.2 to a final level ten times that, achieved after around 10 hours. That means the mesoglea has a lot of viscosity relative to its elasticity--it's hard to make it do anything fast but fairly easy to make it change shape slowly. It has a retardation time (calculated by Biggs; see Vincent [1990]) of a little under an hour. How nice! The pulsating or reversing flows of waves passing above won't sweep it about very much, but after it has hunkered down, the low-pressure ciliary pump will be adequate to pump it back up again, albeit slowly. It can stand up to a single wave but deflect in a tidal current that imposes the same drag. Furthermore, the anemone's body wall can resist the stresses of its own short-term muscle contractions, so it can bend or straighten without getting an aneurysm whenever its muscles aren't active." (Vogel 2003:360-361)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© The Biomimicry Institute

Source: AskNature

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Functional adaptation

Body changes shape: sea anemone
 

The central cavity of sea anemones is reinflated by water pumping in at low pressures thanks to ciliary pumps.

     
  "Consider a solid material with properties and role about as distant from bone as a supportive, compression-resisting material can be. The body wall of a sea anemone--which can be quite substantial in size--consists of inner and outer surface layers separated by the thick mesoglea. One doesn't go far wrong viewing the system as a tall can of seawater whose walls are mostly made of jelly…A typical anemone has a rare facility for changing shape, ranging from a low barrel to a tall cylinder with a few flourishes in between, over times ranging from seconds to hours…Obviously its mesogleal stuffing must participate in the process. Muscle drives some of the shape changes, in particular the sudden expulsion of water in the central cavity from its single apical opening. But tracts of cilia drive other changes, such as reinflation by pumping water back in. You may recall thatciliary pumps produce exceedingly low pressures, and here we're asking that they pump up creatures that may reach half a meter in height and live in moving water.

"Alexander (1962) showed the crucial role of mesogleal viscoelasticity for anemones. In creep tests on samples, strain increased from an initial value of about 0.2 to a final level ten times that, achieved after around 10 hours. That means the mesoglea has a lot of viscosity relative to its elasticity--it's hard to make it do anything fast but fairly easy to make it change shape slowly. It has a retardation time (calculated by Biggs; see Vincent [1990]) of a little under an hour. How nice! The pulsating or reversing flows of waves passing above won't sweep it about very much, but after it has hunkered down, the low-pressure ciliary pump will be adequate to pump it back up again, albeit slowly. It can stand up to a single wave but deflect in a tidal current that imposes the same drag. Furthermore, the anemone's body wall can resist the stresses of its own short-term muscle contractions, so it can bend or straighten without getting an aneurysm whenever its muscles aren't active." (Vogel 2003:360-361)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© The Biomimicry Institute

Source: AskNature

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:1167
Specimens with Sequences:764
Specimens with Barcodes:576
Species:100
Species With Barcodes:54
Public Records:596
Public Species:21
Public BINs:34
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Barcode data

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!