The Colorado Lab serves as a strategic partner and connector to support good government under the philosophy of mutualism. Mutualism is the doctrine that mutual dependence is necessary to social well-being. In biology, mutualistic relationships are those with symbiosis that is beneficial to both organisms involved.

As government agencies seek to serve the public, they need access to researchers who are committed to being responsive to their goals. Researchers benefit from the deep expertise of agency partners, while agencies–and consequently Colorado residents—benefit from the researchers’ unique analytic perspectives. In service to both researchers and government, the Colorado Lab provides support in the areas of study design, data requests and data privacy, partnership management, and communications to drive action.

Examples of mutualistic relationships in nature:

  • Butterflies feast on the nectar of flowers and collect the flowers’ pollen on their legs. As they fly from flower to flower, they transfer the pollen which plants need to develop seeds.
  • Bears feed on berries in the forests where they live, ingesting the seeds and then spreading them through their waste to other locations, promoting the growth of the plant in a new area.
  • Yellow tangs feed on the algae and parasites that collect on the shells of green sea turtles. In addition to freeing the turtle from parasites, the cleaning makes the turtle’s shell smoother, reducing friction in the water.
  • A lichen provides nutrients to a tree, while the lichen receives sugars from the tree.