Throughout the coral reef scientific literature, there are many examples where the words 'synergy' and 'synergism' are being misused, particularly in the area of study involving interactions between physical stressors. This Perspective discusses the concept of synergy and more generally, interactions; summarises the tools available for detecting and interpreting interactions, including the use of ANOVA, generalized linear models, classification and regression trees and isobolographic analysis; and critically examines specific areas of the scientific literature where synergy has been reported. The aim is to promote further discussion of this topic, avoid future misuse of the term, and assist future experimental design and research into this subject.
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