Air and surface soil samples – two different pairs of shoes? Comparing the pollen spectrum on different days of the pollen season

Katharina Bastl, Maximilian Bastl, Uwe Berger, Martina Weber

The pollen spectra of air and surface soil samples from a rooftop (at 14 m) and from ground level (at 1.6 m) in the suburbs of Vienna (Austria) were compared. Two soil samples and two air samples were taken on four different days to account for possible differences: in winter when no pollination occurred (reference day), in spring during the main flowering of Betula (birch day), in spring/summer during the main flowering of Poaceae (grass day), and in autumn during the main flowering of Ambrosia (ragweed day). Thirty-five different pollen types were used to describe the pollen spectra. Frequencies of certain pollen types reflect a seasonal impact on both the surface soil and air samples and show a similarity between air and soil samples on most of the days. However, the seasonal impact is higher in the air samples and shows a high consistency for ground and rooftop level. Kendall’s tau correlation coefficients further substantiate the similarities of the samples especially for the pollen season days. Exceptions include the winter day when pollination was low and the air samples recorded nearly no pollen at all, and the ragweed day when Ambrosia pollen was abundant in three of four samples but not in the ground surface soil sample. Thus, (1) air and surface pollen samples record similar signals during the pollen season but not during the ragweed and winter season and (2) air and surface pollen samples show the impact of local vegetation also in pollen traps located at different heights.

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Medizinische Universität Wien
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106049 Ultrastructure research, 106008 Botany
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Plant Science
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