Peter M. Bradley (Biology) attended the 120th anniversary conference of the New England Botanical Club (NEBC) at Smith College. His presentation was titled “Examination of Pollen Profiles and Frequency Distribution of Diatom Species Found in 8500 Years of Peat at Poutwater Pond, Holden, Massachusetts”. This presentation was coordinated by Peter Bradley, Jennifer Marino M.S. 2008, Benjamin Parmentier M.S. 2009 and Adrienne Smyth M.S. 2006. The abstract will be published in a future issue of the NEBC journal, “Rhodora”.
Poutwater Pond is a “National Natural Landmark.” We have listed plants and animals found there and we have collected a core from the peat bog. This has been radiocarbon dated and pollen, diatoms, other microfossils, and some bacteria have been isolated from the core. The frequency of pollen grains at different depths of the bog (i.e. different ages) tell what trees grew nearby within the past 8,500 years. Differences in diatom species present at different depths may indicate changes in acidity. Microfossils were examined in detail with a scanning electron microscope. Pollen and diatom frequency diagrams have been constructed to show the distribution of common taxa since the last retreat of the ice age. These data were used to deduce fluctuations in climatic conditions that may have occurred at this site during the Holocene, as well as to infer changes in pH.
This research project was funded in part with two faculty mini-grants .