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Image: Mattias Pettersson

Pollen measurements

Pollen are small grains that form in the male organs of plants, the stamens, and are spread with insects, wind and sometimes water. Several of the plants, such as grass, birch, hazel and alder, have allergenic pollen. In Sweden, approximately one in five people is allergic to pollen. It is therefore important that allergy sufferers have access to relevant information about the daily pollen situation in the air, which can help them better manage their illness and plan medication etc.

From 2022, the Environmental Archeology Laboratory at Umeå University runs the pollen measurements in Umeå on behalf of the National Museum of Natural History. From 2023, the Environmental Archeology Laboratory is also responsible for pollen measurements in Sundsvall, Piteå, Östersund and Abisko. We take over the pollen measurements from Jan-Erik Wallin who has done a great and important work running these measurements since 1979.

During the pollen season (March to September), pollen are captured daily in a pollen trap and then identified and analyzed for pollen content and plant variety under a microscope. Researchers at the Environmental Archeology Laboratory perform the analyses, and these result in pollen reports and forecasts that reach the public on the National Museum of Natural History's website (Pollenrapporten.se) and via several other media.

The measurements of pollen in Umeå and Norrland are part of a nationwide network of about twenty measuring stations and have one of the longest, over time, measurement series in Sweden. The measurements in Norrland contribute to the long-term environmental monitoring in the country as it also constitutes an important documentation of the region's pollen flow and its possible change over time.

Read more and see current pollen levels at Pollenrapporten.se

Research and pollen analysis

At the Environmental Archaeology Lab we are also interested in biodiversity changes over long time periods. By studying changes in pollen amounts over thousands of years we can relate the vegetation we see today to the landscapes that were present in the past. This can provide important information on how interactions between people, climate and plants have shaped the vegetation that produces allergenic pollen today.

Learn more about research and pollen analysis at: https://www.umu.se/en/research/infrastructure/mal/pollen-analysis/


Latest update: 2023-02-10