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Eva Crane Pollen Reference Collection

posted on 27.08.2019, 08:59 by Fergus ChadwickFergus Chadwick, Michelle Larkin, Emmeline Cosnett, Natalie Barry, Anant Shaw, Liam Darcy, Dara StanleyDara Stanley

This dataset contains images and videos of microscope slide preparations of fresh pollen grains from 204 plant species growing in the Burren region in Ireland. The data were collected as part of the Eva Crane Pollen Reference Collection project. Key features of each species were also collected from a variety of sources, and were cross referenced from multiple sources and from the images themselves where possible, resulting in a database of the key features of each species with images in the collection. The collection is displayed in a user-friendly way with a search function on our website: evacranepollen.ucd.ie.

Methods: This project began in spring 2017, with sample collection carried out throughout the summer of 2017 and 2018. Pollen samples of plant species from across the Burren were collected by removing anthers from flowers using clean forceps, and placing samples in tubes containing 70% IMS for preservation. To accurately identify plant species, contact was made with botanical experts around the Burren. In total pollen from 225 plant species (204 in the collection) were collected over the two year period representing the majority of insect pollinated plants in the region. The pollen from each sample was then mounted on microscope slides in glycerol jelly. Two preparations were made of each slide, one unstained and one stained with Safranin O The slides were then digitised, with videos and photographs taken of a grain-rich region of the slide to represent multiple focal planes. Ten key features were chosen which represented the main identifiable features of fresh pollen, and data on each feature was then collected from the literature, by using existing online databases such as PalDat and Pollen Wiki and also relevant scientific literature. These data were verified by cross-checking with multiple resources (minimum of two if possible), and then also compared with images from this collection and other images online. Where information on key features was missing from the literature, data were measured from images of pollen from both the Eva Crane Pollen reference collection and the Global Pollen Project. The final selection of key features is intended to make narrowing down candidate plant species easier using treatments and equipment common in the field of pollination ecology. With this in mind, we focused on features which can be accurately identified under these conditions. It should be noted that species level identification is rarely possible in this situation. The physical collection is housed within the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin (UCD). We hope this collection will have broad applicability across the field of apidology, but also to the fields of archaeology, forensics and pollination ecology in Ireland and beyond.

Acknowledgements: This project was funded by a grant from the Eva Crane Trust to Dara Stanley (NUI Galway and then University College Dublin) and Fergus Chadwick (University of Glasgow). Thanks to the following people who worked on the project: Michelle Larkin, Liam Darcy, Emmeline Cosnett, Anant Shaw and Natalie Barry. FC and DS conceived of and designed the project. FC and ML collected samples in the field, FC, LD, EC made slides and digitised the collection, EC and NB collected data on pollen features, and AS developed the website. Thanks also to Sharon Parr, Stephen Ward, Phoebe O'Brien and Maria Long who helped with identification of plants.


Eva Crane Trust


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