death cap & Gliriform mammals

B. J. Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Fri Apr 7 16:05:31 CDT 2000

Dave Jefferies wrote:

>However far more interesting is this:
>Is the molecule fragmented by secretions from the human stomach or is it
>by the action of the gut flora? When we start to look at the human being
as an
>ecosystem (I remember from one microbiology lecture that there are ten
times as
>many non-human cells on a human body as there are human cells within it) life
>gets interesting.
>Should we look at an organism, or more importantly groups of organisms at
>the species and at higher levels, as supplying the necessary conditions for
>other organisms, that are themselves closely (or should that be functionally)
>related? The ability of organisms to function is at least moderated by their
>symbionts (using the word in the broad sense). How this affects a
taxonomic view
>I will leave to others.
>Dave Jefferies
You hit the mail on the head. You really move into other dimensions when
you no longer consider that an animal or plant is part of an ecosystem, but
is an ecosystem in itself for bacteria, fungi, protozoa etc. The breakdown
of cellulose in ruminants, for example is carried out not by the animal,
but by its microflora. Then there are cases when the symbionts of certain
insects seem to influence the sex life of the host. Instead of
investigating the biodiversity of tropical rain forsets one could also do
the "biodiversity of the cow".
Best wishes

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