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“I Can’t Live Without You!” A Close-up Examination of Microorganisms Involved in Mutually Beneficial Symbiotic Relationships

In this activity, students learn about mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships that exist between
microbes and other microbes, plants, and animals, prepare samples for microscopic observation from a
termite hindgut, a lichen, and a legume root nodule, and use a microscope to observe and identify the
microbial symbionts in each of the samples.

By completing this activity, the student will be able to:

1. Describe different types of symbiotic relationships.
2. Identify three mutually symbiotic relationships involving a microbe and another microbe, an animal or a plant.
3. Describe the microbial symbionts in the termite gut, a lichen, and a legume.
4. Identify how these symbiotic relationships benefit both partners.
5. Transfer and apply the principles presented in this activity to other examples of symbiosis.
6. Prepare a wet mount slide of termite hindgut to observe endosymbionts.
7. Use the squash technique to prepare lichen and root nodules.

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