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 organism involved.

The Colorado Lab operates with the philosophy of mutualism: we benefit through the deep expertise of our agency partners, while agencies–and consequently Colorado residents—benefit from our unique analytic perspective and user-centered approach.

Examples of mutualistic relationships:

  • 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.