by Leif L. Richardson And Judith L. Bronstein
|A female mason bee (Osmia species)
foraging at manzanita flowers that have been previously nectar robbed. Photo by Dorit Eliyahu|
Mutualism is a biological phenomenon in which two species interact to
their mutual benefit. A classic example is pollination, in which plants
exchange a food reward (usually pollen or nectar) for pollen transport between
flowers. Mutualisms are ubiquitous in nature, but so is their exploitation by organi
sms (often individuals of the mutualist species pair) that
benefit from the exchange while not reciprocating with either partner. Despite
their prevalence, theoretical models predict that these ‘cheaters’ should drive
mutualisms to extinction because deriving a benefit without paying a cost should
spread. How do mutualisms persist in the face of this pervasive exploitation?
Read the whole summary: pdf
Read the scientific
publication in JPE.