Andrew Thornhill ‘Pollen – nothing to sneeze at’

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Thursday, 12 April 2012 - 12:30pm

Andrew Thornhill is currently a research scientist at the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research aka Australian National Herbarium aka CSIRO working on the phylogenetics of Acacia, Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts. His PhD project at ANU was on the pollen morphology of the Myrtaceae family; he investigated whether there was variable pollen morphology within the family, and whether this could be linked to a phylogenetic tree of the family. He also researched Myrtaceae fossil pollen, some of which was up to 60 million years old, and determined when the main pollen groups within the family first appeared. While doing his PhD Andrew also helped compile the Australasian Pollen and Spores Atlas, based at ANU, and took many of the images that can viewed on the web.

To most people pollen is a yellow dust that causes hay fever; but if you look a little closer, pollen comes in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Andrew will present pollen images belonging to Australian plants and describe the many ways that pollen can be used in scientific research.