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Behavioural and ecological relationships between sea anemones and other invertebrates
Ross, D.M. (1967). Behavioural and ecological relationships between sea anemones and other invertebrates. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 5: 291-316
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Document type: Review

    Behaviour; Interspecific relationships; Actiniaria [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • Ross, D.M.

    Ever since the animal life of the sea was exposed to scientific investigation in the latter half of the nineteenth century many problems have arisen about the relationships which control the lives of individual species. It is sometimes difficult to discover the most elementary facts about marine animals, such as how they feed and reproduce. This is particularly true when they live in deeper waters. Information about ecology and behaviour is necessarily restricted when one is dealing with the collections taken by trawling or dredging on the bottom. Behaviour patterns and ecological relationships seen in animals in aquaria may not be important, or may not even occur, in the same animals in nature. In some cases, aqua-lung diving is beginning to provide exact data about the natural habitats of such animals, for example, the hagfish, Myxine glutinosa (Foss, 1962). Underwater photographic and television studies, and submerged observation chambers can also be expected in the future to fill in some of the huge gaps in our knowledge in this field.There is a great need, however, to conduct such observations as systematic surveys and this has hardly been done as yet. Progress in these fields has been reviewed from time to time (Hedgpeth, 1957; Barnes, 1959, 1963) and improved methods are being introduced which extend the scope of underwater observation (for example, Blacker and Woodhead, 1965).The relationships between sea anemones and their invertebrate partners illustrate some common features of marine associations. Because one of the organisms involved, the sea anemone, is essentially non-locomotory, its associations with other animals can be more conveniently studied. Yet for any anemone it is by no means easy to answer simple questions about its food, its mode of reproduction, and the early stages of its life history. The impressive results of studies of the behaviour and relationship of insects give us a foretaste perhaps of the kinds of discoveries that may be expected when the lives of comparable organisms in the sea can be studied in similar detail.

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