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Abstract

Those who attempt to reconstruct the history of the vegetation on remote oceanic islands by the technique of palynology have always been aware of the possibility that their results could be vitiated by pollen transported long distances through the atmosphere, from other islands or from distant continents. This possibility is not altogether fatuous. In a fanmous experiment using a vacuum cleaner Erdtman (1952) caught a single grain of Pinus on a ship in mid-Atlantic. Surface samples of peat from Tristan da Cunha yielded a few grains of Nothofagus, which must have traveled 4.000 krn from South America (Hafsten 1960). This genus even contributed pollen to Marion Island, over 7,000 km from the source area (van Zinderen Bakker, 1974).

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