Important Facts about Palynology
Palynology, By Definition
Palynology is a particular study within the realm of ecology that deals with the pollen and spores of plant species. Specifically, palynologists look at such factors as abundance of pollen and its occurrence in preserved samples. While this seems like a narrow biological field, the everyday palynologist has a plethora of potential career opportunities before them, as palynology has several unique uses in the modern world.
Uses and Applications
- Paleobotany: In the research of plants and their origins, palynologists have an important foothold in the study of past environmental systems, or paleoenvironments. In studying spores and pollens of preserved species samples, palynologists can reveal many details about different ecosystems, especially marine environments. With palynology, one can determine such environmental characteristics as water depth, temperature, and salinity. This is important in learning more about past wildlife and how it has evolved.
- Palynology and Hydrology: These two classes of scientific study come together to serve one another well. Hydrology is a broad field that can involve, though is not exclusively related to, determining the presence and source of sediment in water, the flow of that water in an above or underground system, and determining pollutants within a water sample. This works together with palynology, in determining the presence of specific types of materials within a water source, including pollen, spores, or specific minerals and sediments, which can help develop palynology research more fully.
- Forensic Science: On a much more recent chronological level, palynology is also beneficial to criminal investigators in revealing the history of evidence based on pollen and spore traces. For example, pollen samples found on a object could reveal to a palynologist the potential location this object was in contradiction to where it was found. Most commonly, this is applied in homicide cases in investigating body disposal. As a result, palynology can bring an irrefutable dimension to the criminal justice system.
- Biological Research: The versatility of palynology as a field is most adequately illustrated in the many research opportunities it provides. Pollen and spores can reveal much about the origins of a large number of things. One common example is honey. An immense amount of research is being done to use palynology to investigate the biological origin of honey.
Importance in Society
A large portion of what palynology as a science incorporates is the origin of plant species and the environments they are or were found in. In this regard, palynology lab services can be beneficial in a number of differing areas and industries, and as a result, palynology is a considerably important scientific field.