Discuss the Given Situation on Species Interactions

Question Description

I’m working on a Biology exercise and need support.

With antibiotic resistance rising, researchers are looking for ways to reduce use of these drugs. Some cattle once fed antibiotic-laced food now get feed that includes helpful bacteria that can live in the animal’s gut. The idea is that if a large population of beneficial bacteria is in place, then harmful bacteria with the same resource needs are less likely to thrive. Explain why this idea makes sense in terms of species interactions and provide an example with your response.

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Final Answer

If a large population of helpful bacteria is in a place where a smaller population of harmful bacteria lives the species have several options for interaction:

  • No interaction (neutralism): this means that there is no effect of one species on the other (very unlikely in this case)
  • Positive interaction (commensalism or mutualism): one species helps the other to survive where either one or both benefits (think of an anemone and clownfish)
  • Negative interaction (competition, ammensalism, or antagonism/predation): harm is caused to one species by another

The thinking behind this solution is that there will be a negative interaction between the two species. Since they need the same resources to survive, the species will be in direct competition. If a large enough population of helpful bacteria is introduced, the harmful bacteria will be outcompeted for resources, leading the species to either die off or be so small that the effect they have is negligible. 

This is a very common species interaction in an environment and often leads to extinction or endangerment of a particular organism in an ecosystem. A common example of interspecific competition is cheetahs and lions. They have the same prey, so when both exist in an area one or bot populations is hurt by lack of resources.

Hope that helps!

Shannon M (111)
Purdue University

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