Journal Article


UV-B absorbing pigments in spores: Biochemical responses to shade in a high-latitude birch forest and implications for sporopollenin-based proxies of past environmental change

Abstract

Current attempts to develop a proxy for Earth's surface ultraviolet-B (UV-B) flux focus on the organic chemistry of pollen and spores because their constituent biopolymer, sporopollenin, contains UV-B absorbing pigments whose relative abundance may respond to the ambient UV-B flux. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy provides a useful tool for rapidly determining the pigment content of spores. In this paper, we use FTIR to detect a chemical response of spore wall UV-B absorbing pigments that corresponds with levels of shade beneath the canopy of a high-latitude Swedish birch forest. A 27% reduction in UV-B flux beneath the canopy leads to a significant (p<0.05) 7.3% reduction in concentration of UV-B absorbing compounds in sporopollenin. The field data from this natural flux gradient in UV-B further support our earlier work on sporopollenin-based proxies derived from sedimentary records and herbaria collections.

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Authors

Fraser, Wesley
Sephton, Mark A
Watson, Jonathan S
Self, Stephen
Lomax, Barry H
James, David I
Wellman, Charles H
Callaghan, Terry V
Beerling, David J

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Social Sciences

Dates

Year of publication: 2011
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-02-06


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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