You have observed a shrub always growing in association with a species of Hakea. You have also observed the Hakea growing alone. You suspect this might be an example of a symbiotic relationship. What type of symbiotic relationship might this be and what experiment would you conduct to confirm the nature of the relationship?. Ecology

  • The symbiotic relationship can either be facultative mutualism, parasitic or commensal for the Hakea. It is not obligate, as it can live without the symbiont.
  • For the shrub it might by obligate - either it is parasitic or commensal.

To test what kind of relationship it is you would need to set up a test the growth of the following groups:

  • Hakea by itself
  • Shrub by itself
  • Shrub and Hakea together

From these tests measure:

  1. Whether the species grows by itself or only with the other - this would indicate whether the relationship is obligate or facultative
  2. Whether any of the species are impeded by the growth of the other, this may indicate a parasitic relationship or commensal