Pollination in the Chilean Mediterranean-type ecosystem: a review of current advances and pending tasks

R. Medel, C. González-Browne, F. E. Fontúrbel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature published on plant–pollinator interactions, from both the plant and pollinator perspective, in the Chilean Mediterranean-type ecosystem (MTE hereafter). Our search identified 69 published papers on 235 native plant species from 62 families. Less than 7.9% of the flowering species inhabiting the Chilean Mediterranean have been studied, and most studies were restricted to only one locality and one reproductive season. The geographic location of the studies differed from a random pattern, showing two well-defined areas where most studies were conducted. Likewise, most studies in the Andes Range were performed above 2000 m a.s.l. The number of species of flower visitor per plant species was low (4.25 ± 0.22), which probably results from the historical and biogeographic isolation of Chile. This literature survey shows that studies relating floral traits with pollinator attraction and plant reproduction are the most frequent topics of research, reaching 37.6% of studies, followed by studies that examine pollination in relation to human impact (16.1%), micro- and macroevolution (14.0%), relationships between pollination and other ecological interactions (10.8%), community and network assessments (11.8%), and effects of abiotic variables on pollination interactions (9.7%). Our review highlights a lack of research on the effects of pollination for anthropogenic land use especially as agricultural practice is one of the most salient features of the Chilean MTE. Future directions to increase our understanding of the role of plant–pollinator relationships for biodiversity maintenance should include: to extend the taxonomic and geographic scope of research, to increase the number of spatial and temporal replicates, to increase the number of studies on pollination networks as they provide estimates of community complexity and putative stability, to develop studies that estimate the importance of pollination for plant demographic parameters and conservation, and to conduct studies that estimate the ecological service provided by Chilean native pollinators for crop yield and sustainable agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-99
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Biology
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Chile
  • Mediterranean-type ecosystem
  • plant–pollinator interactions
  • pollination


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