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This comprises the introductory or methodological section of paleopalynolgy text. Occasionally, passages read as through they have been transcribed directly from lecture notes, for example, “I would now like to summarize the salient features” p. In this regard, I was amused to note paleopalynoligy Traverse uses the term “climatic optimum”. As an aside, Traverse has some terminological quibbles with the name “Holocene”, and would prefer that this interval was subsumed under the Pleistocene.

These illustrations are predominantly photomicrographs and SEM images. The next eleven chapters consist of a survey of the field of paleopalynology in geochronologic order, beginning with acritarchs in the Precambrian in Chapter 6 and concluding with “Holocene interglacial palynology” in Chapter In this and subsequent sections, I particularly like the historical perspective on the development of the discipline, complete with photographs and some biographical information on some prominent practitioners.

This is followed by a thirty-page glossary of terms. Owing to the attempt to illustrate as wide a range of types as possible, many pages contain two dozen or more small photographic images. The methodological emphasis is taken up again in the last two chapters of the book.


Thus, although the general impression of diversity is conveyed, the pictures are often too small to clearly distinguish details. For example, the chapter on Holocene palynology, although touching on some major points, does seem cursory and rather fragmentary.

Throughout the book, the writing style is discursive and chatty. However, the aim of the text is to give a general survey of the field and in this it appears to succeed well. There is a major division in the discipline between Quaternary pollen analysts and stratigraphic or paleopalynologists who tend to concentrate on pre-Pleistocene materials. I suspect, however that this may be more difficult and expensive from a production viewpoint. Scale bars, too, may only appear once which is frustrating when the illustration spans paleopalynollogy pages e.

This is a value-laden description optimum for whom? Unfortunately, I found some of the drawings rather indistinct, although this may be simply a fault in the reproduction.

Paleopalynology dictionary definition | paleopalynology defined

This necessitates much page turning and makes it difficult to study and compare the images. I consider that this term is so well entrenched in the literature that he is on a losing wicket and paleopalynoloty be inviting confusion here. Although my area of interest is primarily the Late Quaternary, I found this text with its clear expositions, lucid writing style, and abundant illustrations, informative and valuable.

This book is ambitious in its scope and covers a large amount of material, and thus treatment given to any one topic is necessarily limited.

The chapters also contain illustrations, drawings, and photographs of major and representative taxa discussed. Finally, references are compiled for the entire book, rather than for individual chapters.



This substantial tome by the noted palynologist Alfred Traverse of Pennsylvania State University is intended as a teaching text for laboratory-based courses in paleopalynology at the University level. The first five chapters present an overview of the field. So the appearance of this introductory text spanning the discipline is a welcome event. The applications and implications of these data to the study of lithified sediments are then highlighted.

Thus captions may be divorced from their illustrations. I suspect that specialists in the other time intervals and topics covered in this text might have similar observations.

It consists of a broad general survey of this highly diverse field, arranged into 18 chapters, followed by an appendix and glossary. Often the two groups do not appear to talk to each other much.

Some major topics discussed include definitions, a short history of the discipline, a discussion of the different types of palynomorphs, a survey of plant life-cycles emphasising the role played by pollen and spores, and an exposition of pollen and spore morphology. Each chapter consists of a survey of the main palynomorphs of that time period together with paleopalynolog consideration of major research themes, supported by extensive references to the literature.