Seasonal distribution of pollen in the atmosphere of Darwin, tropical Australia: Preliminary results

J Stevenson, S Haberle, F JOHNSTON, David Bowman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Pollen loads in the atmosphere of Darwin, a city located in the wet-dry tropics of Australia, have been monitored for the period March 2004 to November 2005 as part of a large research program looking at atmospheric particles and human health. Seven pollen types dominate the pollen spectrum, the herbaceous families of Poaceae (grasses) and Cyperaceae (sedges), as well as several native tree and shrub taxa, Acacia, Callitris, Casuarina, Arecaceae and Myrtaceae. The pollen loads were found to have a strong seasonal component associated with the alternating wet (November to March) and dry (April to October) seasons of the region. Seventy percent of the yearly pollen load is captured during the dry season, with the peak pollen period occurring at the onset of the dry season (April-May) when most grasses are in flower. The daily pollen concentration decreases as the dry season progresses, accompanied by a change in composition; fewer herbaceous but increasing woody taxa. Preliminary health outcomes reveal a positive association between hay fever, Poaceae and Acacia pollen, as well as a significant association between total fungal spore concentrations and asthma. The Darwin record contrasts significantly with surveys conducted in the subtropical and temperate cities of Australia where temperature as opposed to rainfall and the prevalence of northern hemisphere exotic tree species have a greater influence over the seasonality and composition of the pollen loads. � 2007 Taylor & Francis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)34-42
    Number of pages9
    JournalGrana: international journal of palynology and aerobiology
    Volume46
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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