Pollen in Peat Bogs

For A2 biologists when observing global warming

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Pollen in Peat Bogs
Pollen in peat bogs can be used to show how temperature has changed over thousands of years. Here's how it
1. Pollen is often preserved in peat bogs (acidic wetland areas)
2. Peat bogs accumulate in layers so the age of the preserved pollen increases with depth
3. Scientists can take cores from peat bogs and extract pollen grains from the different aged layers. They then fully
identify the plant species the pollen came from
4. Only fully grown (mature) plant species produce pollen, so the samples only show species that were successful
at the time
5. Scientists know the climates that different plant species live now. When they find preserved pollen from similar
plants, it indicates that the climate was similar when that pollen was produced
6. Because plant species vary with climate the preserved pollen will vary as climate changes over time
7. So a gradual increase in pollen from a plant species that's more successful in warmer climates would show a rise
in temperature (a decrease in pollen from a plant that needs cold conditions would show the same thing)
8. Here's an example of how pollen in peat bogs can provide evidence for global warming events in the past


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