Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:10 PM

IMAGING TECHNOLOGY IN PALYNOLOGY AND ITS ROLE IN THE CLASSIFICATION OF POLLEN AND SPORES


MANDER, Luke, Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 505 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801 and PUNYASENA, Surangi W., Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois, 505 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, luke.mander@gmail.com

Pollen and spores are a valuable record of plant life, and have provided information on subjects ranging from the nature and timing of evolutionary events to the relationship between vegetation and climate. In this paper we aim to highlight that maximizing the amount of morphological information recovered from pollen and spores is crucial to the process of classification, particularly in cases where the morphological differences between taxa are very small. We emphasize that the microscopes that are routinely used by researchers to examine pollen and spores have reached a ceiling of resolution that results in a loss of taxonomically significant morphological information. We present data to suggest that the use of optical microscopy techniques that aim to achieve a spatial resolution that is not limited by the diffraction of light (super-resolution microscopy techniques) may be useful in future palynological studies. Finally, we explore correlations between images of pollen grains generated using super-resolution microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, as a means to truth the morphological information recovered by super-resolution microscopy.