Quantifying the relationship between airborne pollen and vegetation in the urban environment
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.
KeywordsAllergy 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.
- Alcázar, P., Cariñanos, P., De Castro, C., Guerra, F., Moreno, C., Domínguez-Vilches, E., et al. (2004). Airborne plane tree (Platanus hispanica) pollen distribution in the city of Córdoba, South-Western Spain, and possible implications on pollen allergy. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 14, 238–243.Google Scholar
- British Aerobiology Federation. (1995). Airborne pollens and spores. A guide to trapping and counting. Rotherham: National Pollen and Hayfever Bureau.Google Scholar
- Canty, A., & Ripley, B. (2015). Boot: Bootstrap R (S-Plus) Functions. R package version 1.3-17.Google Scholar
- Cariñanos, P., Galán, C., Alcázar, P., & Dominguez, E. (2008). Classification, analysis and interaction of solid airborne particles in urban environments. In A. G. Kungolos, C. A. Brebbia, & M. Zamorano (Eds.), Environmental toxicology II (pp. 317–325). Southampton: WIT Press.Google Scholar
- Cariñanos, P., Galán, C., Alcázar, P., & Domínguez, E. (2007). Analysis of the solid particulate matter suspended in the atmosphere of Córdoba, south-western Spain. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 14, 159–160.Google Scholar
- Charalampopoulos, A. (2017). Pollen-scapes in natural and urban environments: Production and atmospheric circulation of pollen grains at different heights and elevations (Ph.D. thesis, in Greek). Thessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.Google Scholar
- D’Amato, G., Cecchi, L., D’Amato, M., & Liccardi, G. (2010). Urban air pollution and climate change as environmental risk factors of respiratory allergy: An update. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 20, 95–102.Google Scholar
- ESRI. (2011). ArcGIS desktop: Release 10. Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute.Google Scholar
- Euro + Med (2006): Euro + Med PlantBase—the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Published on the Internet http://ww2.bgbm.org/EuroPlusMed/. Accessed May 17, 2017.
- Fotiou, C., Damialis, A., Krigas, N., Halley, J. M., & Vokou, D. (2011). Parietaria judaica flowering phenology, pollen production, viability and atmospheric circulation, and expansive ability in the urban environment: Impacts of environmental factors. International Journal of Biometeorology, 55, 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- González, F. J., & Candau, P. (1997). Study on pollen content in the air of Seville (SW Spain): The pollen spectrum and its relation with vegetation and anthropogenic activity. Botanica Helvetica, 107, 221–237.Google Scholar
- Gonzalo-Garijo, M. A., Tormo-Molina, R., Muñoz-Rodríguez, A. F., & Silva-Palacios, I. (2006). Differences in the spatial distribution of airborne pollen concentrations at different urban locations within a city. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 16, 37–43.Google Scholar
- Google Earth Pro v.188.8.131.5202 [April 20, 2017] Thessaloniki, Greece. 40°37’11.53”N, 22°55’36.78”E, Eye alt 13.12 km, Digital Globe, 2017, http://www.earth.google.com. Accessed April 30, 2017.
- Green, R. J., & Davis, G. (2005). The burden of allergic rhinitis. Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 18, 176–178.Google Scholar
- Karagiannakidou, V., & Raus, T. (1996). Vascular plants from Mount Chortiatis (Macedonia, Greece). Willdenovia, 25, 487–559.Google Scholar
- Krigas, N. (2004). Flora and human activities in the area of Thessaloniki: Biological approach and historical considerations (Ph.D. thesis, in Greek). Thessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.Google Scholar
- Med-Checklist (2006). A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-mediterranean countries. Published on the Internet http://ww2.bgbm.org/mcl/. Accessed May 22, 2017.
- Nowak, M. A., Szymanska, L., & Grewling, L. (2012). Allergic risk zones of plane tree pollen (Platanus sp.) in Poznan. Postepy Dermatologii I Alergologii, 29, 156–160.Google Scholar
- Oksanen, J., Blanchet, G., Kindt, R., Minchin, P. R., Legendre, P., O’Hara, B., & Suggests, M. A. S. S. (2012). Vegan: Community Ecology Package. R package Version 2.0–3. Available at: http://cran.r-project.org/.
- R Core Team. (2016). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.Google Scholar
- RNSA (2016). Vegétation en ville: Guide d’ information. http://www.vegetation-en-ville.org/wp-content/themes/vegetationenville/PDF/Guide-Vegetation.pdf.
- Šikoparija, B., Radisik, P., Pejak, T., & Simié, S. (2006). Airborne grass and ragweed pollen in the southern pannonian valley: Consideration of rural and urban environments. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 13, 263–266.Google Scholar
- Walters, S. M., Alexander, J. C. M., Brady, A., Brickell, C. D., Cullen, J., Green, P. S., Heywood, V. H., Matthews, V. A., Robson, N. K. B., Yeo, P. F., & Knees, S. G. (Eds) (1989). The European Garden Flora volume III. Dicotyledons (Part I). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Weinberger, K. R., Kinney, P. L., & Lovasi, G. S. (2015). A review of spatial variation of allergenic tree pollen within cities. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, 41, 57–68.Google Scholar
- WHO (World Health Organization) (2013). Review of Evidence on Health Aspects of Air Pollution - REVIHAAP. First Results. Copenhagen, Denmark:WHO Regional Office for Europe.Google Scholar