An Old Dog With New Tricks: An Automated, Dry-Deposition Tauber Trap

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Geography and Geology


Establishing a modem pollen analogue for remote, high-deposition environments (e.g. ice caps) presents a unique problem that is difficult to address with current technology. Collecting modern pollen with traditional Tauber traps in these locations (at sub-annual resolution) is nearly impossible due to the time and costs involved in frequent, long-distance or remote travel. Presented in this paper is an automated, dry-deposition Tauber trap with the ability to open and close on a timer, which allows for pollen collection at programmable intervals. This new trap (along with three traditional Tauber traps) was field tested in the summer of 2005 at the University of Colorado's Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research Station (LTER) located in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. During the research, one of the traditional traps became damaged and was subsequently discarded from the study. Significant variability in pollen concentrations and percentages was found in the remaining traps. Statistical tests revealed that the pollen assemblage collected in the automated trap was statistically no different to the pollen collected in the traditional Tauber traps. Field testing in a cold, high-wind environment also revealed the weaknesses of acrylic as a trap material, and identified several improvements that could be made to the overall design. Further testing aside, this modified, automated Tauber trap now permits modern pollen rain studies at higher resolutions in more remote locations.

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