Finding patterns in bee-plant relationships



This study from a team of Brazilian researchers looked at how climatic conditions affect the complex networks of relationships between bees and the plants they pollinate.

It analysed interactions across South America between the widespread Centris genus of bee with plant species that produce oil in their flowers.

Data on the occurrence of both the bees and the plants were obtained from 32 data publishers through GBIF, and from 60 datasets published from Brazil through speciesLink.

The study found patterns in these interactions mainly associated with rainfall. Wetter areas tended to have higher numbers of species in the networks with each bee species having more plant ‘partners’. Drier areas such as the Andes and northeast Brazil had fewer species and more specialized relationships between bees and plants.

The authors conclude that the interactions observed among pollinators and plants are probably influenced by a combination of current ecological processes and past evolutionary history.


Photo: A female Centris denudans on a Brazil nut flower. © M. C. Cavalcante, F. F. Oliveira, M. M. Maués, and B. M. Freitas. CC-BY-3.0.

Location of Researchers 
Number of resources used 
Data from 32 publishers through GBIF