Honey Palynology

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Honey Production

Pollen Analysis for Honey Certification 

Irish honey is a major “green” industry in Ireland, and that has grown amazingly during the last two decades. There is a chemical certification currently conducted to ensure its quality. However, there a clear need for increased pollen certification that guarantees the plant types that are contributing to the honey that is being produced not only seasonally, but throughout the season. EESEEMR can provide this service. In addition, the procedure that EESEEMR uses, can also be used to guarantee the quality of imported honey. This can also be used to confirm that correct mixing of honeys for special varieties of honey. We at EESEEMR can provide answers!

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Impact of Climate Change on Honey Production

Global climate change is already impacting local bee populations with new diseases. In the future this impact will also impact bee populations even more. EESEEMR’s staff can forecast the impact of climate change on the bees of Ireland. 


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Climate Change and Changing Flower Assemblages

EESEEMR can also provide predictions of the impact of climate change upon the plant communities of Ireland. The honey industry will have to adapt to these changes through the selection of new plant honey types as old ones may become rarer as the plants disappear. On the other hand, there will clearly be an opportunity for new plants to be introduced and become part of the honey production market. We at EESEEMR can provide answers!

POLLEN FOR CRIME SOLVING AND INVESTIGATING HUMAN LIVES

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Crime Scene Palynology

Forensic palynology is the study of pollen, spores and other acid-resistant microscopic plant bodies, including dinoflagellates, to prove or disprove a relationship between objects, people and places that pertain to both criminal and civil cases. 

Pollen can tell a lot about where a person or object has been, because regions of the world, countries, and even different parts of a garden will have a distinctive pollen assemblage. Pollen evidence can also reveal the season in which a particular object picked up the pollen. 

For instance, a dead body may be found in a wood, and the clothes may contain pollen that was released after death, but in a place other than where it was found. That indicates that the body was moved.

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RECONSTRUCTION OF ANCIENT DIET

We at EESEEMR can participate in scientific studies of human archaeological remains. EESEEMR’s staff includes personnel experienced in working with skeletal and mummified remains from around the world. EESEEMR's staff have reconstructed the environmental context and diet of the Spirit Cave individual.

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Diet reconstruction and disease

This includes determining causes of death and diseases, diet reconstruction from the stomach and intestinal contents of mummies. In the case of the coprolites of the Spirit Cave individual the pollen which had been eaten by the fish of his last meal helped confirm the age of the individual as well as the local environment of his time. The fish had eaten pollen floating on the surface of the marsh, and when they were eaten, the pollen was mixed with the stomach contents and incorporated in the coprolites. When the coprolites were examined the pollen spectra was statistically compared with the pollen spectra from Hidden Cave and found to correlate with strata that were 9,400 years old, exactly the age of the radiocarbon determination.

PALYNOLOGY OF HUMAN ACTIVITY

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MAPPING ANCIENT SITE EXTENT

Because the pollen skeleton is composed of sporopollinen (a plastic) it can be preserved for thousands if not millions of years under the right conditions. The resource gathering activities of human societies usually bring plants that often have the pollen bearing flowers still attached to them. The extent of a site can often be determined by analyzing samples collected from the soils across a site. This often contains surprises regarding the plants that were collected by ancient peoples. In some cases, there is no other evidence of this collecting activity. 

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MAPPING ANCIENT FOOD PROCESSING AREAS

When people process plants that still have the flowers attached, the pollen in those flowers become part of the record of human activity deposited around the site. In this case the soil surrounding these ovens at the Butte Site northwest of Reno, Nevada, contained pollen from the flowers of Camassia quamash, a favorite root crop of the native people of the western U.S. The pollen, in the lily family, is very distinctive. The use of some artifacts can also be determined by examining a sample washed from the surface of a milling stone for example. In one such case, the presence of algae indicated that aquatic plants were being processed. It also suggested that the plant had been collected from the nearby spring.

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DETERMINING THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXT OF SITES

Because most archaeological sites are found in stratified deposits, pollen from the stratum that contains the site and from strata on either side of the site's stratum can be analyzed to determine the vegetation context of the site, and the time before and after site occupation. At Hidden Cave, for example, there were sedimentary strata ranging in age from over 22,000 years ago to just 1,000 years ago. Strata that are associated to human use of the cave indicate that an extensive marsh was present in the low-lying area beneath the cave entrance. People were harvesting resources from the marsh and processing them, and in some cases storing them in the cave.