Pollen is at once intimately part of the reproductive cycle of seed plants and simultaneously highly relevant for the environment (pollinators, vector for nutrients, or organisms), people (food safety and health), and climate (cloud condensation nuclei and climate reconstruction). We provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the many and connected roles of pollen to foster a better integration of the currently disparate fields of pollen research, which would benefit from the sharing of general knowledge, technical advancements, or data processing solutions. We propose a more interdisciplinary and holistic research approach that encompasses total environmental pollen diversity (ePD) (wind and animal and occasionally water distributed pollen) at multiple levels of diversity (genotypic, phenotypic, physiological, chemical, and functional) across space and time. This interdisciplinary approach holds the potential to contribute to pressing human issues, including addressing United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, fostering social and political awareness of these tiny yet important and fascinating particles.
Hornick, T., M. Bastl, S. Bohlmann, A. Bonn, J. Bumberger, P. Dietrich, B. Gemeinholzer, R. Grote, W. S. Harpole, B. Heinold, A. Keller, M. L. Luttkus, P. Mäder, E. Motivans, S. Passonneau, S. Punyasena, D. Rakosy, A. Richter, R. Richter, W. Sickel, I. Steffan-Dewenter, P. Theodorou, R. Treudler, B. Werchan, M. Werchan, R. Wolke, and S. Dunker (2021) ”An integrative environmental pollen diversity assessment and its importance for the Sustainable Development Goals”. Plants, People, Planet in press