A fourth reason why most pollen and spores are useful as forensic tools is that the majority of them are highly resistant to destruction or decay. This is why the oldest geological evidence of organic material, related to plants, comes from what is believed to be very ancient spores (Faegri and Iversen 1989).
Why are spores a good type of evidence to study at a crime scene?
They can be useful at crime scenes because they can be found in rotting vegetation. We may find fungi at burials/crime scenes. By looking at the type of spores present, we can determine if the person had more than one burial site and also use it to link suspects to the scene. Fungal spores are asexual and immotile.
How could identification of pollen and spores be useful in a criminal investigation?
Advances in plant genomics have had a high impact on the field of forensic botany. … Forensic palynology refers to the use of pollen and other spores when it is used as evidence in legal cases to resolve criminal issues by proving or disproving relationships between people and crime scenes.
What is the importance of pollen spores and soil as trace evidence?
Pollen and spores are ideal forensic trace materials because the grains are small, highly variable, and found on almost any item that has been exposed to or comes in contact with the air (Milne et al. 2005). Transfers can occur between people, plants, and objects or a combination of contact between these things.
What is the problem with collecting and storing pollen evidence?
Most pollen and spores are hard to destroy and they don’t easily decay. This means that pollen and spore evidence from a region or crime scene can remain intact for years, hundreds of years, or even thousands and millions of years!
What types of questions can botanical evidence help answer?
When crime-scene investigators arrive at a crime scene, their job is to observe and document anything that may help solve a crime. Botanical evidence may help answer the following questions: • Where did the crime occur? What was the geographical region? Was the crime committed in an open field?
How is pollen collected at a crime scene?
Traditionally, forensic palynology is done by examining pollen grains under a microscope and comparing them to known pollen morphology. This is a highly specialized skill, and there are few experts able to identify plant species based on the size, shape and color of the pollen grains.
Is pollen physical or biological evidence?
Biological evidence, on the other hand, includes organic things like blood, saliva, urine, semen, hair, and botanical materials, such as wood, plants, pollens and yes, Clarice, moth cocoons.
Why is palynology so important?
Palynology is a useful tool in many applications, including a survey of atmospheric pollen and spore production and dispersal (aerobiology), in the study of human allergies, the archaeological excavation of shipwrecks, and detailed analysis of animal diets.
How do you collect pollen samples?
Pollen can be collected with manual sampling or the help of a suction pump. Bees and bumble bees can be used for both matrices with many plants. Solitary bees are able to collect pollen.
What type of microscope is used to analyze pollen evidence?
pollen looks like a fine yellow or white dust, but when magnified many thousands of times in a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) each plant pollen species reveals a unique set of characteristics. They can be distinguished by shape, size and ornamentation.
What is a spore profile forensics?
Forensic palynology is the application of pollen and spores in solving legal issues, either civil or criminal. … With so many publications and high-profile cases involving forensic palynology and environmental analysis now receiving publicity, the future of this branch of forensic science is assured.
What is Palynotaxonomy?
Palynotaxonomy: Palynotaxonomy is the study of spore morphology of embryophytic plants and pollen morphology of seed plants. … Erdtman and many palynologists all over the world made available pollen descriptions of all angiosperm families including most of the genera and species to taxonomists.
How is pollen used as evidence?
Pollen can reveal where a person or object has been, because regions of the world, countries, and even different parts of a single garden will have a distinctive pollen assemblage. Pollen evidence can also reveal the season in which a particular object picked up the pollen.
What is the best way to store pollen?
Pollen, when dry, should be stored in the freezer in sealed glass jars containing a desiccant, such as calcium chloride or silica gel. Silica gel is available at many nurseries and hobby supply shops as a material for drying flowers. The “Tell-Tale” type has dark blue crystals that turn pink as they absorb moisture.
How long is pollen good for?
Out in the open, pollen may be viable for one or two weeks under normal conditions. However, when frozen and sealed, it can last up to a year and even longer. Pollen is more unstable than seed and even under the most optimal conditions, it isn’t expected to have as long of a shelf life.