As a collaborative research team from the American Museum of Natural History and Gettysburg College revealed, the green alga Oophila amblystomatis makes its home inside of cells located across the body of the spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum. The salamander doesn’t appear to be negatively affected by its microbial roommates, and in fact the amphibian may even be benefiting from this arrangement. The normally photosynthetic green algae, on the other hand, are completely stressed out, forced rely on an alternative means of energy production.The algae was spotted before in the eggs of the salamander, which benefits both, but now it appears that the algae stay with the animal into adulthood. As it appears the relationship is either benign or one-sided, it opens up more questions to be studied. Read about this new discovery at Gizmodo.
The finding is so strange and so unexpected that the scientists involved in the study aren’t sure why this relationship evolved in the first place, or how each creature might be benefiting.