Comparison of two pollen counting methods of slides from a hirst type volumetric trap
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Two of the most frequently used methods of pollen counting on slides from Hirst type traps are evaluated in this paper: the transverse traverse method and the longitudinal traverse method. The study was carried out during June–July 1996 and 1997 on slides from a trap at Worcester, UK. Three pollen types were selected for this purpose: Poaceae, Urticaceae and Quercus. The statistical results show that the daily concentrations followed similar trends (p < 0.01, R-values between 0.78–0.96) with both methods during the two years, although the counts were slightly higher using the longitudinal traverses method. Significant differences were observed, however, when the distribution of the concentrations during 24 hour sampling periods was considered. For more detailed analysis, the daily counts obtained with both methods were correlated with the total number of pollen grains for the taxon over the whole slide, in two different situations: high and low concentrations of pollen in the atmosphere. In the case of high concentrations, the counts for all three taxa with both methods are significantly correlated with the total pollen count. In the samples with low concentrations, the Poaceae and Urticaceae counts with both methods are significantly correlated with the total counts, but none of Quercus counts are. Consideration of the results indicates that both methods give a reasonable approximation to the count derived from the slide as a whole. More studies need be done to explore the comparability of counting methods in order to work towards a Universal Methodology in Aeropalynology.