Understanding pollen and spore diversity

Linnean Society Palynology Specialist Group meeting
Linnean Society of London
Burlington House
1st November 2012

Linnean Society (November 2012)
PCRG members at the Linnean Society 1st November
Left-Right: Hayley Keen, William Gosling, Alice Kennedy and Encarni Montoya

Yesterday four members of the Palaeoenvironmental Change Research Group (PCRG) visited the Linnean Society of London to attended the annual palynology meeting. The talks were excellent and covered a wide range of issues in palaynology  from the configuration of Late Triassic Cassopollis grains (Wolfram Kurschner, University of Oslo), through how pollen and spores are built (Stephen Blackmore, Royal Botanic Garderns, Edinburgh) to understanding global patterns of mass-extinctions with particular focus on the Cretaceous-Paleogene (Vivi Vajda, University of Lund). For further information on the days program click here to visit the meeting web site.

The PCRG contribution to the meeting was made by Hayley Keen who presented the first paper related to her doctoral research to an exteral audience entitled “Pollen counting for diverse tropical ecosystems”. The paper presented:  

  1. A statistical model (developed by co-author Felix Hanke) which simulaltes pollen counting in order to estimate the size of pollen count required to develop a robust ecological insight from the fossil pollen record, and
  2. compared model predictions with empirical data from a diverse tropopical ecosystem (Mera, Ecuador) to assess the reliablity of the model.

It is hoped the application of the model to fossil pollen counting will allow more efficient and effective use of palynologists time. The paper was very well recieved despite the audible intake of breath when Hayley recommened that to characterize pollen richness (diversity) in some settings pollen counts in excess of 2000 grains might be required!

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