The images taken by Adele Julier to help her with pollen identifications during her PhD at The Open University (UK) are now available to download. Please note these images are not of reference material but identifications, made by Adele and myself, of the pollen grains found within her pollen traps. The pollen traps were deployed within vegetation study plots in wet evergreen forest, semi-deciduous moist forest, and the forest-savanna transition zone in Ghana. Further publications on this work and a thesis coming soon…
Gosling, W.D. (2004) Characterisation of Amazonian forest and savannah ecosystems by their modern pollen spectra. PhD Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Leicester.
WDG Bolivia (2002)
Controversy surrounds the Quaternary palaeoenvironmental history of Amazonia. It is unclear whether moist evergreen forest, savannah or seasonally dry forest dominated the Amazon basin at the last glacial maximum (c. 21,000 years B.P.). In part the uncertainty surrounding the palaeoenvironmental history of Amazonia stems from a poor understanding of the ecological significance of the fossil pollen records from the region. In order to improve interpretations of the fossil pollen record it is essential to better understand the nature of the pollen rain produced by modern ecosystems.
In this thesis, three Neotropical ecosystems equivalent to those alluded to above were characterised by their modern pollen rain. This was achieved by examining samples collected in artificial pollen traps located within permanent (50 x 200 m) vegetation plots in the Noel Kempff Mercado National Park area, Bolivia. In each plot 10 traps were sampled for one field season (September 1998 to September 1999, or September 2000 to September 2001) and 5 traps were sampled from two additional field seasons (between 1998 and 2001). Pollen counts of at least 100 grains were made for each trap. In total 318 pollen taxa were distinguished, of which 116 were identified. The characteristic pollen from each of the three ecosystems were determined through a series of steps: spatial and temporal variations were explored using Spearman’s Rank correlations, the distinctive taxa of each ecosystem were identified using Principal Components Analyses (PCA), and the representativity of the pollen for each ecosystem was examined by comparing pollen and vegetation abundances. These analyses revealed a small number of taxa that can be used to characterize these ecosystems. Further PCA showed that it is possible to differentiate between the ecosystems by assessing the relative proportions of Didymopanax, Alchornea, Anadenanthera, Melastomataceae/Combretaceae, Moraceae/Urticaceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Pteropsidia (trilete), Poaceae and Solanum. These findings mean that it is now possible to detect these ecosystems in the fossil pollen record and consequently further information regarding the nature of the vegetation change in the Amazon basin can be gained.
With the redesign and refocusing of the blog underway, I’m delighted to announce the launch of our very own “Ecology of the past”YouTube channel. Initially this will host videos produced as part of the Lake Bosumtwi pollen chemistry project, which includes a strong emphasis on impact and outreach activities. The videos are being targeted to a secondary school/sixth form audience, and will demonstrate both how we are doing the research and who we are as academics, highlighting the different roles and career pathways within the team. As time goes on this channel will be a platform for videos from other members of the research group, again showing who we are, what we do and how we do it.
For now, here are the first two videos: a diary of the field trip to Ghana that Adele and I went on last Autumn, and an accompanying piece showing how you too can make your own pollen trap. Enjoy!
Tardigrade egg found in Ghanaian pollen trap by Adele
Here is a summary of what other people have been up to:
Lottie Miller: submission and approval of thesis corrections (hooray), working on British Ecological Society grant application.
Hayley Keen: is finishing up lab work (macro charcoal – done, XRF – done, wood macrofossils – thin sectioned, awaiting identification, pollen – just 4 more samples!); and dealing with minor review revisions to first submitted paper (hooray).
Frazer Bird: finished the data collection for two Ecuadorian lakes (Banos and Pindo) and will hopefully begin to write up this data soon; attended the NERC stats course (very useful; would advise everyone to try and get on it).
Nick Loughlin: has split and logged the sediment cores recovered from Lake Huila (Ecuador) during recent fieldwork, and begun preparing the samples for pollen.
Adele Julier: has been preparing pollen trap samples from Ghana and learning tropical pollen.
Emily Sear: has mostly been on holiday and we are still waiting for the post card! She has also been working at getting results that make sense from the MS2.
Phil Jardine: has been oxidising spores to see what it does to the chemistry, generating FTIR data with the oxidised samples and starting the numerical analysis, and editing film footage from the 2013 Ghana trip.
Encarni Montoya: has been doing pollen lab and analysing pollen from Baños, and comparing the midges trends from Pindo and Baños with Frazer.
Wes Fraser: Reported back to Royal Society on finding from research grant – paper containing exciting results to follow in next couple of months.
Some pollen from Adele’s pollen traps in Ghana
We have also had 4 papers published with 2014 dates on them:
Cárdenas, M.L., Gosling, W.D., Pennington, R.T., Poole, I., Sherlock, S.C. & Mothes, P. (2014) Forests of the tropical eastern Andean flank during the middle Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 393: 76-89. doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.10.009
Fraser, W.T., Watson, J.S., Sephton, M.A., Lomax, B.H., Harrington, G., Gosling, W.D. & Self, S. (2014) Changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 201, 41-46. doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2013.11.001