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Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa

Julier, Adele C. M.; Jardine, Phillip E.; Adu-Bredu, Stephen; Coe, Angela L.; Fraser, Wesley T.; Lomax, Barry H.; Malhi, Yadvinder; Moore, Sam; Gosling, William D.


Adele C. M. Julier

Phillip E. Jardine

Stephen Adu-Bredu

Angela L. Coe

Wesley T. Fraser

Barry H. Lomax

Yadvinder Malhi

Sam Moore

William D. Gosling


How pollen moves within and between ecosystems affects factors such as the genetic structure of populations, how resilient
they are to environmental change, and the amount and nature of pollen preserved in the sedimentary record. We set
cial pollen traps in two 100 m by 100 m vegetation plots, one in a wet evergreen forest, and one in a moist semi-
deciduous forest in Ghana, West Africa. Five traps from each plot were counted annually from 2011 to 2014, to examine
spatial and temporal variation in the pollen rain of the most abundant taxa shared between pollen and vegetation
assemblages. Samples from the wet evergreen plot exhibited high variability within years, with the dominant pollen types
changing between samples, and many pollen taxa being over-represented relative to their parent plant abundance in some
traps whilst being entirely absent from others. The most abundant plant taxa of the wet evergreen plot (
) do, however, constitute major components of the pollen rain. There is less variation between samples from the
moist semi-deciduous plot spatially, as it is dominated by
, which typically comprises >70% of the pollen assemblages.
We conclude that pollen rain in these tropical ecosystems is highly heterogeneous, and suggest that pollen assemblages
obtained by trapping are susceptible to small-scale variations in forest structure. Conversely, this may mean that current
recommendations of more than three years of trapping in tropical systems may be too high, and that space could substitute
for time in modern tropical pollen trapping.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2019
Journal Grana
Print ISSN 0017-3134
Electronic ISSN 1651-2049
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Issue 1
Pages 45-62
APA6 Citation Julier, A. C. M., Jardine, P. E., Adu-Bredu, S., Coe, A. L., Fraser, W. T., Lomax, B. H., …Gosling, W. D. (2019). Variability in modern pollen rain from moist and wet tropical forest plots in Ghana, West Africa. Grana, 58(1), 45-62. doi:10.1080/00173134.2018.1510027
Keywords Plant Science; Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Publisher URL


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