Identifying NPPs

Since a few decades, palynologists not only consider pollen grains and bryophytes and pteridophytes spores in palynological samples, but also any other kind of micro-fossil preserved. Such rests – called non-pollen palynomorphs – come from various origin. Most of them are fungal remains or algae, but there are also plant and animal remains, dinoflagellates, etc.

I'm often asked how to identify them. There is unfortunately no universal method. Bas van Geel, who initiated their systematic identification in the University of Amsterdam, compiled thousands of photographs in a lab book, that you can download here.

A nice document to keep together with this lab book is the paper of Antonella Miola, published in 2012 in Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. It provides an updated list for most of NPPs described in van Geel's lab book, as well as a few more, and names assigned to more NPPs than previously.

To keep this list up to date, consider joining the regular NPP Workshop (once every two year on average), as well as dedicated NPP sessions held during international conferences, such as during the next EPPC in Dublin.

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