• Will Powell

3 Marine Friendships for World Ocean Day

Symbiosis in the sea - what can we learn?

As it is world ocean day (and also a great excuse to delve into my marine biology nerdy side), I thought I’d share three stories of the ways that marine species interact and have a symbiotic relationship that benefits both.

In a wider sense we believe that a few lessons can be learned from our marine friends, that a symbiotic relationship that is kinder to mother nature can reap rewards for the human species.Co-existing with our natural ecosystem is at the heart of what we do at Future Shift and is at the core of our ideals for the future of business.

1. Salmon and Lumpsucker Fish

Industrial farming of Atlantic salmon has led to an array of problems. The most significant of which has been caused by little pests called salmon lice, or Lepeophtheirus salmonis. These pesky lice cause significant wounds in the skin of the salmon which are then deemed unsellable to the consumer. It has led to a huge rise in chemotherapeutic contamination to control the lice, this in turn has its obvious negative effects.

Luckily it chemotherapeutics aren't the only answer, this is where the marvellous Lumpsucker fish are introduced as natural predators of the salmon lice when introduced and render the need for chemicals obsolete.

2. Goby Fish and Pistol Shrimp

Another beautiful example of mutualism is how these two species intertwine. The pistol shrimp is an excellent excavator, burrowing holes deep in the sediment, foraging for food, however its one deficiency is it is blind and often exposed to predators. The goby fish acts as a bodyguard, protecting the hind of the shrimp as it burrows away in return for free use of the facilities.

3. Firefly Squid and Bioluminescent bacteria

Firefly squid are some of the most amazing creatures of the ocean, producing beautiful light shows when the sun sets on the sea. However they don’t emit this light themselves but actually house bioluminescent bacteria within their skin that chemically reacts with the oxygen in the water to produce light. This light is used as a counter-illumination that gives the impression that predators beneath are looking up at the stars and not the squid themselves.

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