Mutualisms: Assessing the benefits to hosts and visitors

J. Hall Cushman*, Andrew J. Beattie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


A great number and variety of interactions are widely assumed to be mutualistic because the species involved exchange goods or services from which they appear to derive benefit. A familiar example is pollination, in which animal vectors receive food in the form of nectar and/or pollen, while the ovules of plants are fertilized. Unfortunately, most studies fail to demonstrate that both participants benefit in any significant way and therefore lack the information necessary to determine whether a given interaction is mutualistic. While mutualism is thought to be a common type of species interaction, there is still little evidence for this belief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-195
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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