Geology/Earth Science Projects 2009
Pollen Analysis of Soda Lake: Analysis of fossil pollen from lake sediments to reconstruct the
dynamics of terrestrial vegetation response to late Quaternary climate change.
Faculty Mentor - Peter Wigand
This multiple phase course will take the participant from an introduction to pollen and pollination ecology,
through its application to a project on the Carrizo Plain that will involve the reconstruction of past vegetation
communities, and climates. The session will begin with a brief introduction to pollen morphology, texture and wall
structure, which is used to identify pollen, and assign it to a specific plant genus or species. Next we will
discuss pollen dispersed, and preservation, and where it may be found on the landscape.
The project phase of this program will consist of learning how to mount pollen samples on slides, and how to
count and analyze them. The participants will then learn how past environments are reconstructed using modern
analogues. Finally, the reconstructed vegetation community will be used to assess past climates, and lake
conditions. The goals are to have participants:
Learn the basics regarding pollination ecology, and preservation of pollen in the geological record.
Work with pollen samples from sampling, through extraction of pollen, through mounting and counting of
pollen slides to the generation of diagrams.
Learn how counts of pollen from ancient sediments are used to reconstruct past vegetation communities,
which are then used to reconstruct the climates which formed them.
| These Web pages and any associated Adobe Acrobat Files are designed as supporting material
for the respective projects. Please feel free to contact either of the program directors with any
questions you might have.