Although this may seem odd at first, the researchers realized this was a social occurrence not unlike what happens in the human world. When humans are alone with a rich amount of food, water, and shelter, we tend to do well without interactions with others. But take away one of those factors and suddenly mutualism occurs. People tend to help others by offering something to improve the quality of life. This essentially is the case at the microbial level. When one of the most important elements goes missing, the bacteria tend to group together and form alliances to improve the chances for survival.