Symbiotic relationships in species from the temperate rainforests

I am currently working on a project about Temperate Rainforests and I would like to talk about some example of a symbiotic relationship. Anyone who works or researches taxa in those areas have any cool ones? Any taxa is fine I would love to hear what interesting relationships are found in these regions.


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Moved this to Nature Talk because it’s not directly related to iNaturalist use. Very cool topic!


Not in the least bit an expert at all here but one that I could think of off the top of my head would be poison dart frogs and bromeliads. Apparently the frogs raise their young in the pool of water the bromeliads have and the tadpole poop provides the plant with extra nutrition. Does that count as a symbiotic relationship? Bromeliad provide safety for tadpole, tadpole provides food for bromeliad. I’m not entirely sure about this so experts please correct me.

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I believe the original poster was asking about temperate rainforests.

The one example that comes to mind off the top of my head is lichens. Obviously lichens are a symbiosis between a photobiont and one or more mycobionts, but I think some of the photobionts are nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria as well; in old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest, nitrogen fixation by lichen followed by lichen fall and decomposition is a significant component of the soil nitrogen budget.


whoops, apologies. but symbiotic relationships in general is an interesting topic nonetheless.


Late post, I know, but one of my field guides for the Pacific Northwest describes a symbiotic triangle of sorts between squirrels, fungi, and conifers. The fungi form a mycorrhizal relationship with the tree, with carbohydrates flowing from the tree to the fungus and water and soil minerals the fungus to the tree. Squirrels enter the equation by spreading seeds/spores in exchange for food. While they do eat many of the pine cones that they bury in caches, the ones they forget about are much more likely to germinate than those that never got buried in the first place. Squirrels cache mushrooms, too, getting spores on themselves in the process. These spores inevitably fall off during the squirrel’s travels, allowing some fungal spores to germinate far from their parent.

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Lycaenid caterpillars (which are cosmopolitan) and ants:

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The more closely we look the more examples we find of multicellular plants and animals having close relationships with smaller microbial life.

Let’s start with the trees that define the temperate rainforest. The roots of these trees are often physically enmeshed with strands of fungi in the soil. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are those that surround tree roots in a sheath. They provision the trees with nitrogen and other nutrients. In response the tree roots exude carbohydrates that the fungi can use.

Without this symbiosis I don’t know that we’d even have temperate rainforests at all!

Some of the most commonly observed mushrooms in temperate forests (including rainforests) are from ectomycorrhizal species. Some examples:



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