Click here for the story in The Age about the coming hay fever season.
Yesterday, Thursday August 18, was warm and spring-like here in Melbourne and I'm sure a few people will have experienced some hay fever. It was windy too and the count, 539 pollen grains per cubic metre, shows that the air was also heaving with pollen. Although the wattles are flowering profusely at the moment, there was no wattle pollen at all on the slide and most of the pollen was instead from conifers such as pine and cypress. Personally I think wattles are unfairly blamed for allergies at this time of year. Their bright yellow flowers draw the eye but it is often the pollen of other, less showy plants that is the real cause of the problems. These plants include exotic trees such as birch and ash and although we didn't see any of their pollen yesterday either, they'll be flowering soon and I'll be sure to let you know when it is around.
Today's picture shows pine and cypress pollen. Pine pollen has a main body and two laterally placed air-filled sacs, which help the pollen grain to float on the wind.
Hi Melbourne, already a touch of spring in the air and I’m excited about the coming pollen season. I’ve had some questions about what’s currently in the air and the answer is not much. Took a count on Thursday Aug 11 and as expected saw no grass pollen and only 7 other pollen types per cubic metre of air. Among the other pollen were pine, cypress, eucalyptus and possibly some plantain as well. A few fungal spores such as the one shown, which I think is Pleospora. There will be a few changes to the pollen count this year which I’ll tell you about later.
Medical doctor, scientist and pollen counter extraordinaire Dr Danielle Medek is heading south, way way south. To Antarctica!
Danielle is one of a select group of 78 women in science and related fields who are traveling to the frozen continent for an intensive 20-day leadership programme. She believes women have an important role to play in curbing climate change and in helping create a liveable world that we can share with plants and animals. On this trip Danielle will discover how to lead, protect and hopefully heal a changing world.
So we’re giving Danielle a shout. For more information, including ways of you can help support her trip, visit her website.