PollChem project

Research Council of Norway - FRIMEDBIO 

Project No: 249844
Period covered - start date: 2016
Period covered - end date: 2021
Project Administrator: Alistair Seddon, University of Bergen
NMBU principal researcher: Boris Zimmermann


The projected environmental changes of the 21st century will have profound impacts on Earth's biodiversity and its associated ecosystem functions, but basic, baseline information related to drivers of change and their variability is lacking for many ecosystems. Palaeoecology uses the plant remains (e.g. fossil pollen) preserved in lake sediments to fill this critical knowledge gap. Sediments are natural data-loggers, but information obtained from sediments is limited by current techniques. There is a need for new tools and methods to generate novel ecological insights from the information from sediment cores.

PollChem works at the frontiers of a new and emerging technique with the potential to trigger the next revolution in palaeoecology. Recent studies indicate that the chemical constituents of pollen respond to changes in environmental conditions and are also reflective of phylogenetic patterns. Since components of this pollen-chemical signature can remain preserved in sediments over thousands of years, pollen chemistry has the potential to provide new and unparalleled levels of detail for a range of palaeoecological applications. PollChem provides, for the first time, an integrated framework which implements the full scope of pollen chemistry techniques to three major palaeoecological applications: 1) Reconstruction of ultra-violet radiation (UV-B) for the past 100 years from a varved sediment sequence to provide a validation-through-time test for a new pollen-based UV-B proxy; 2) Reconstruction of UV-B across the Permian-Triassic transition (ca. 252 million years ago), where UV-B exposure has been proposed as a key extrinsic driver of mass-extinction; and 3) Investigation of whether species differences in pollen chemistry can improve taxonomic precision within a palaeoecological forest-fire model system. 



Heitmann Solheim J., Borondics F., Zimmermann B., Sandt C., Muthreich F., Kohler A.
An automated approach for fringe frequency estimation and removal in infrared spectroscopy and hyperspectral imaging of biological samples
Journal of Biophotonics (2021) e202100148

Muthreich F., Zimmermann B., Birks H.J.B., Vila‐Viçosa C.M., Seddon A.W.R.
Chemical variations in Quercus pollen as a tool for taxonomic identification: Implications for long‐term ecological and biogeographical research.
Journal of Biogeography 47 (2020) 1298

Seddon A.W.R., Festi D., Robson T.M., Zimmermann B. 
Fossil pollen and spores as a tool for reconstructing ancient solar-ultraviolet irradiance received by plants: an assessment of prospects and challenges using proxy-system modelling.
Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences 18 (2019) 275

Published 15. February 2016 - 20:16 - Updated 4. March 2022 - 12:13