Deconstructing pollinator community effectiveness

Under a Creative Commons license
open access


We propose a new, additional community level property of pollination effectiveness.

This will facilitate connections among pollinators, plants and the environment.

This will require multiple methods and greater integration among research fields.

Effective pollination is a complex, context-dependent phenomenon determined by both species-level and community-level factors. While pollinator communities are constituted by interacting organisms in a shared environment, these factors are often simplified or overlooked when quantifying species-level pollinator effectiveness alone. Here, we review the recent literature on pollinator effectiveness to identify the pros and cons of existing methods and outline three important areas for future research: plant-pollinator interactions, heterospecific pollen transfer and variation in pollination outcomes. We conclude that pollinator community effectiveness needs to be acknowledged as a key property of pollination effectiveness in order to fully account for the suite of plant, pollinator and environmental factors known to influence different stages of successful pollination.