Palynology is the study of organic-walled microfossils 5 to 500 micrometres in size. These fossils are known as palynomorphs, and include pollen and spores.
The main groups of palynomorphs found in sedimentary rock are:
Hodeum secalinum, barley pollen grains.
Pre-Cambrian to present day. This group has living relatives.
Pollen grains and spores are found in most sedimentary deposits, due to their:
The abundance and broad time span of palynomorphs make them particularly useful for dating rocks and understanding palaeoenvironmental and geoarchaeological change.
Many palynolomorph species require specific conditions to survive, making them useful indicators of global climate and environmental change.
Dinoflagellate assemblages can reveal changes in ocean chemistry and temperature through time.
Collections of modern palynomorphs can help us to:
Modern pollen and spore collection
The Museum's spore and pollen microfossil collections include the John Williams Index of Palaeopalynology and the modern pollen and spore collection.