Jardine, P.E., Hoorn, C., Beer, M.A.M., Barbolini, N., Woutersen, A., Bogota-Angel, G., Gosling, W.D., Fraser, W.T., Lomax, B.H., Huang, H., Sciumbata, M., He, H. & Dupont-Nivet, G. (2021) Sporopollenin chemistry and its durability in the geological record: an integration of extant and fossil chemical data across the seed plants. Palaeontology https://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12523
Woutersen, A., Jardine, P.E., Bogota-Angel, R.G., Zhang, H., Silvestro, D., Antonelli, A., Gogna, E., Erkens, R.H.J., Gosling, W.D., Dupont-Nivet, G. & Hoorn, C. (2018) A novel approach to study the morphology and chemistry of pollen in a phylogenetic context, applied to the halophytic taxon Nitraria L.(Nitrariaceae). PeerJ 6, e5055. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5055
Jardine, P.E., Abernethy, F.A.J., Lomax, B.H., Gosling, W.D. & Fraser, W.T. Shedding light on sporopollenin chemistry, with reference to UV reconstructions. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 238: 1-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2016.11.014
An international team of scientists have reconstructed the longest ever record of past sunshine using pollen trapped in lake sediments collected in Ghana, Africa. The study published today in Scientific Reports enables us to understand past changes in solar input to the global system over the past 140,000 years. Previously we have had to rely upon computer models to mathematically determine past solar inputs to the Earth. “This work really is a first; being able to peer back in time to understand how the Sun has driven our global system over many of thousands of years is a very exciting prospect” said joint-lead author Dr. Phillip Jardine of The Open University.
The Sun is a key component of our natural environment, driving a multitude of processes at Earth’s surface, from photosynthesis generating energy within plants, through to global-scale circulation patterns in our oceans and atmosphere. Understanding more about how the Sun has behaved in the past, and the influence this had on Earth’s environment, will help scientists predict future climate change.
Dr. Jardine used a technique pioneered by one of his co-authors, Dr. Wesley Fraser of Oxford Brookes University, to determine past changes in solar input, specifically changes in ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Plants protect themselves from the harmful nature of ultraviolet radiation by incorporating a number of specific chemical compounds into their tissues that absorb and dissipate the energy of UV radiation. Pollen grains of flowering plants are also provided protection by these UV-absorbing chemicals, thus act as a long-term recorder of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
Pollen grains are readily trapped in lake sediments, where they can be preserved for millions of years. By extracting material from Lake Bosumtwi, Ghana, the pollen that was released by flowering plants thousands of years ago can be separated from the lake sediment and chemically analysed for UV-absorbing chemical compounds. It is this chemical signature within the ancient pollen grains that provides us with information about past levels of solar ultraviolet radiation.
“What we present here is a new opportunity to explore how the Earth has changed” said Dr. William Gosling (University of Amsterdam). “I am particularly excited about this because it will means that we can gain a better understanding of why vegetation changed in the past, and consequently this will allow us to anticipate better what the likely impacts of projected future climate change will be.”
Jardine PE, Fraser WT, Lomax BH, Sephton MA, Shanahan TM, Miller CS & Gosling WD (2016) Pollen and spores as biological recorders of past ultraviolet irradiance. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep39269
Published open access:
Julier, A.C.M., Jardine, P.E., Coe, A.L., Gosling, W.D., Lomax, B.H. & Fraser, W.T. (2016) Chemotaxonomy as a tool for interpreting the cryptic diversity of Poaceae pollen. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 235, 140-147. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2016.08.004
10:30 – 11:00 Barry Thomas (Aberystwyth University). Ecological interpretations of Asturian and Cantabrian lycophyte microspore floras of the Variscan Foreland and the Appalachian Province of the Central Coalfields of the U.S.A
11:00 – 11:30 Adele Julier (Open University). Can FTIR spectroscopy be used to identify grass pollen?
14:00 – 14:30 Viktória Baranyi1 (Oslo Universiy). Morphology and wall-ultrastructure of Froelichsporites traversei, an enigmatic sporomorph from the Late Triassic in North America.
14:30 – 15:00 Hannah Banks (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew). Functional and phylogenetically useful structures in Caesalpinioid legume pollen.
15:00 – 15:30 Sam Slater (Sheffield University). A quantitative analysis of Middle Jurassic vegetation dynamics based on dispersed spore/pollen assemblages from the Ravenscar Group, North Yorkshire, UK.
Afternoon tea 15:30 – 16:00
16:00 – 16:30 Alex Askew (Sheffield University). A palynological investigation of the Middle Devonian of northern Spain: hunting for the Kačák event.
16:30 – 17:00 Phil Jardine (Open University). A new use for old pollen: reconstructing past solar irradiance using pollen chemistry.
To register please contact Barry Lomax (Group secretary)
Will’s BES T-shirt logo swabbed at Greenman; for more microbes on festival kit visit the “Hall of shame” on http://www.besfest.org
August was a month for travel with PCRG members heading for Peru (Bryan, and he is still there), Greenman festival (William), INTECOL conference (William and Frazer), and the Royal Geographic Society annual meeting (William, Encarni, Frazer and Hayley). Detailed reports of the UK based travels are already on the blog, and hopefully we will get a post from Bryan on his Peruvian adventure once he is back.
Back in Milton Keynes work progressed with:
Hayley producing a revised full draft of her pollen counting methodology manuscript,
Frazer starting with the first tentative attempts to apply his chironomid training data set to fossil chironomid records,
Phil trialing inverted microscopes and training on the FTIR,
Encarni plotting field work in Ecuador (more travel for November-December),