Palynological contribution to aerobiological studies in South-East Scotland
Airborne pollens and, more recently, spores, which occur in the rooftop airstream over Edinburgh have been monitored and the data analysed, since 1988. The thesis describes the developing organisation, methodologies and resources which underpin the daily pollen count, data of which are transmitted daily to the UK National Pollen Research Unit at Worcester for the British Aerobiology Federation's database. The data of birch (Betula) and grass (POACEJE), two highly allergenic components of the pollen circulating, are forwarded daily to the European Aeroallergy Network's database in Vienna. Each of the nine selected publications presented are of significance both nationally and internationally. Both the birch and grass pollen studies revealed problems associated with geographical location, varying heights of trapping sites and determination of start dates for pollen seasons. Likewise, the factors involved in asthma mortality within Scotland, the effect on human health that may be passed by high concentrations of bracken spores and the impact of Dutch Elm disease on the elm population, all highlighted problems in determining which environmental factors are significant and, possibly, causative. The paper which dealt with the possible use of pollen rain analysis on vegetation surfaces, was a response to an hypothesis, which could have proved useful had it been positive. The two papers on the technique of pollen analysis of animal faeces has proved to be of value in determining preferred diet, habitat and cause of pollinosis. Lastly, the biographical paper on Dr Cunningham once again underlined the importance of an individual's contribution to the gradual development of techniques for measuring, evaluating and understanding of the roles of various parameters and their interaction in the discharge, aerial movement and impact ofbiopartic1es. The thesis concludes with a description and evaluation of the author's contribution to the science of Aerobiology.