The Role of Symbioses in the Adaptation and Stress Responses of Marine Organisms. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ocean ecosystems are experiencing unprecedented rates of climate and anthropogenic change, which can often initiate stress in marine organisms. Symbioses, or associations between different organisms, are plentiful in the ocean and could play a significant role in facilitating organismal adaptations to stressful ocean conditions. This article reviews current knowledge about the role of symbiosis in marine organismal acclimation and adaptation. It discusses stress and adaptations in symbioses from coral reef ecosystems, which are among the most affected environments in the ocean, including the relationships between corals and microalgae, corals and bacteria, anemones and clownfish, and cleaner fish and client fish. Despite the importance of this subject, knowledge of how marine organisms adapt to stress is still limited, and there are vast opportunities for research and technological development in this area. Attention to this subject will enhance our understanding of the capacity of symbioses to alleviate organismal stress in the oceans.

publication date

  • January 3, 2020