Knowledge of Chilean freshwater zooplankton has substantially accelerated since the development of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) — UNESCO Program, from 1975 onwards. One of the specialists who took part in this program was Bernard Dussart. We present a synthetic picture of Dussart’s contribution to these local studies, and the more recent regional understanding of zooplankton components in natural and man-made lakes. Information on zooplankton taxonomy and ecology has increased noticeably during the last three decades, from two or three publications per decade, to one per year. This has permitted a more thorough insight into latitudinal trends in the distribution of copepods and branchiopods, the latter having an overall higher species richness and with a greater presence in reservoirs or more temperate and eutrophic systems. Maximum zooplankton species richness at approximately 40?S also encompasses a higher percentage of copepods, as latitude and the proportion of oligotrophic water bodies increase. This latitudinal distribution and the species richness pattern are unaffected by the more recent surveys of the planktonic crustacean communities. These surveys and other ecological studies have provided a further and thorough insight into freshwater system components and the environmental relationships of the limnetic biota.