Pollen

Sneezing in the spring? Car coated in yellow dust? You’ve encountered pollen! Pollen “grains” are the male gametes produced by plants that produce seeds. Pollen grains are made of a very resistant macromolecule called “sporopollenin,” and can be found in many different places, such as on your clothes or in honey, as well as preserved in many sediment and rock types. One gram of honey or sediment can contain from hundreds to millions of pollen grains! The diverse array of pollen grains in the rock record is very useful to geoscientists who want to sort out what ancient climates were, or how ancient ecosystems were distributed, or even where to look for fossil fuels. Others use it to solve crimes using forensic palynology, or to fingerprint the sources of nectar in honey. The study of pollen is very versatile, ranging from fundamental to applied sciences. The strength of this science is that each plant produces a unique pollen type, which is identified by its shape, ornamentation, openings, etc.

Interested in knowing more about pollen? We recommend you visit these sites!

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/pollen/whatispalynology.htm
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/GeolSci/micropal/spore.html
http://myweb.dal.ca/jvandomm/forensicbotany/palynology.html