, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 285–300 | Cite as

Quantifying the relationship between airborne pollen and vegetation in the urban environment

  • Athanasios Charalampopoulos
  • Maria Lazarina
  • Ioannis Tsiripidis
  • Despoina Vokou
Original Paper


The goal of this study was to quantitatively assess the relationship linking vegetation and airborne pollen. For this, we established six sampling stations in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece. Once every week for 2 years, we recorded airborne pollen in them, at breast height, by use of a portable volumetric sampler. We also made a detailed analysis of the vegetation in each station by counting all existing individuals of the woody species contributing pollen to the air, in five zones of increasing size, from 4 to 40 ha. We found the local vegetation to be the driver of the spatial variation of pollen in the air of the city. Even at very neighbouring stations, only 500 m apart, considerable differences in vegetation composition were expressed in the pollen spectrum. We modelled the pollen concentration of each pollen taxon as a function of the abundance of the woody species corresponding to that taxon by use of a Generalized Linear Model. The relationship was significant for the five most abundantly represented taxa in the pollen spectrum of the city. It is estimated that every additional individual of Cupressaceae, Pinaceae, Platanus, Ulmus and Olea increases pollen in the air by approximately 0.7, 0.2, 2, 6 and 5%, respectively. Whether the relationships detected for the above pollen taxa hold outside the domain for which we have data, as well as under different environmental conditions and/or with different assemblages of species representing them are issues to be explored in the future.


Allergy Ecosystem service Pollen spectrum Spatial pattern Woody plants Urban green 



This project was funded by the programs ‘Aristeia Scholarship 2014’ and ‘Action C: Supporting Research activity of Basic Research 2013’ of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), Greece.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Athanasios Charalampopoulos
    • 1
  • Maria Lazarina
    • 1
  • Ioannis Tsiripidis
    • 2
  • Despoina Vokou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of Botany, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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