Open-File Report 97-0867

Palynological Census Data from Surface Samples in South Florida

By Debra A. Willard and Lisa M. Weimer

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Understanding the distribution and abundance of pollen of various plants in modern sediments and their relationship to source plant distribution and abundance is critical for accurate interpretation of past vegetational patterns reconstructed from down-core sediments. Such evidence is particularly important for work supporting restoration efforts, in which palynological and paleobotanical analyses are used to reconstruct vegetational response to environmental changes and to guide restoration goals for a sustainable ecosystem. Such work is ongoing in south Florida, and this report summarizes the preliminary results from the first 28 of 80 surface samples collected throughout the historic Everglades, from the Water Conservation Areas south to Florida Bay. These data form a regional database of pollen distribution and abundance in surface sediments in the major vegetational types over most of the historic Everglades and supplements earlier work by Riegel (1965), covering an area from the Shark River Slough into Whitewater Bay. Such data have been used in other studies to identify modern analogs for down-core assemblages, improving the accuracy of vegetational interpretation from the pollen record (Overpeck, and others, 1985, 1992). Ultimately, this complete dataset will be used for statistical comparison with down-core pollen assemblages from the historic Everglades to determine which, if any, modern samples are close modern analogs to those deposited over the last few thousand years. This report presents assemblage data generated to date and describes the relationship between taxonomic abundance in the pollen record and standing vegetation based on this initial dataset.

This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards or with the North American Stratigraphic Code. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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