Ecological and Environmental Change Research Group

100 years of pollen analysis celebrated!

Nine EECRG and University Museum of Bergen members were fortunate to be at the 'Centenary (1916-2016) of pollen analysis and the legacy of Lennart von Post' symposium held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on 24-25 November 2016.

John Birks standing on the right whilst giving his presentation about the pollen analyst Lennart von Post
John Birks giving his Lennart von Post lecture at the symposium for the centenary of pollen analysis at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Hilary Birks

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Over 180 participants attended covering several generations of pollen analysts with an age range from 25 to 89. There were 24 speakers from 12 countries who gave presentations on topics including the history and development of pollen analysis, the legacy of von Post, the study of vegetation history world-wide, and the iportant contributions that pollen analysis is making to our understanding of past ecosystem changes, baseline conditions, conservation priorities, phylogeography, and past climate. There were also 40 poster presentations and an exhibit of von Post's equipment, field note-books, photographs, etc. Lennart von Post's ethos and motto was "Think horizontally, work vertically", which epitomises the interpretation of stratigraphic microfossil diagrams! Pollen analysts 100 years on are continuing this brilliant idea with detailed temporal studies on long interglacial sequences and sophisticated spatial studies on geographical patterns in tree abundances. The Bergen group was the largest pollen group represented at the symposium, and its members presented two keynote lectures (Kathy Willis, John Birks - Lennart von Post and Quaternary palynology since the 1960s) and one poster (Alistair Seddon et al.).

The symposium was organised by Marie-José Gaillard, Björn E Berglund, Kevin Edwards, and John Birks.