The Story of Life & the Environment
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The Story of Life & the Environment  an African perspective
The Story of Life and the Environment
A distant galaxy photographed from the Hubble telescope.
A group of women fishing with baskets in the Okavango River, Botswana
A hawksbill turtle swimming over a coral reef off Zanzibar, Tanzania
Californian coast redwoods, the largest trees on Earth

Interactions of life

No creature lives or functions in isolation. Not only do we share the same DNA with the entire spectrum of past and present life, but we are also dependent on, and interact and compete with other organisms. These interactions extend from the extremes of predation of one species on another, to the mutual dependence of symbionts on each other for survival.

Micrograph of the spores of the genus Henneguya     The life cycle of a parasitic trematode worm, including three hosts     Micrograph of a hydra (freshwater cnidarian) in the process of reproducing by budding

Interactions between living organisms can range from the obvious to the extremely complex. At its most brutal, competition means certain death for one of the two competing individuals, but at its most benign, interactions can bring considerable benefits for both parties. Whatever the interactions, no species can live in isolation from others. The lesson to be learnt is that if we as humans interfere with the biology or ecology of any one species, we will almost certainly alter food-web structures and therefore impact on many more species, however inadvertently. Given such insight into life in general, we can look more thoroughly and with better understanding at life in specific environments.

Domestic pigeons are found in large flocks in cities, where they scavenge very successfully

Story of Life