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This lab follows the second or third lecture on pollen analysis and Quaternary paleoecology. It should come after students have been introduced to pollen diagrams and covered such topics as: what is pollen, how are pollen grains dispersed, how are pollen records obtained from lakes and bogs, how are modern pollen data sets used to interpret fossil pollen data, and how are pollen diagrams designed and interpreted. This lab serves as an introduction to the pollen database available from NOAA National Climate Data Center World Data Center for Paleoclimatology (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pollen.html (more info) ). The lab allows students to browse the contents of the SiteSeer pollen data base, which contains site information and summary pollen diagrams. SiteSeer allows searching by Site Name or Contact Person. It also allows limited filtering of the data by Age, Range, Location, and Pollen taxon. SiteSeer is a teaching tool to explain how to use and interpret pollen data. With this familiarity, students can obtain up-to-date information on pollen sites and actual pollen data from the NCDC WDC web page, using the Data Search tool and Web Mapper. This lab exercise focuses on sites in the North American Pollen Data Base (NAPD), showing the many ways one might obtain this information. Working through a set of questions helps students understand the impressive pollen database available to study the vegetation history of North America.
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