Animated Maps of Vegetation Change

Pollen Viewer  v3.1  v3.2     Instructions  v3.1  v3.2     Acknowledgements

The Quaternary Environments group at Brown in collaboration with Professor Patrick Bartlein of the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon have mapped the changing spatial distributions of pollen percentage for over 50 taxa from 21,000 calendar years ago to present. Maps of biomes derived from the pollen data and maps of multiple taxa were also included to show how the vegetation changed.

Click to run Pollen Viewer 3.1
Click to run Pollen Viewer 3.2

A Java applet, called Pollen Viewer, which has two accessible versions, 3.1 and 3.2, displays selections of these pollen distributions as animations or as slides. Version 3.1 uses common taxon names, has a streamlined user interface and 16 taxon selections. It runs on PC and Apple computers but has button overlap on Apples. This version is a good choice for casual browsing. Version 3.2 has selectable taxon nomenclature, more functionality, more than 50 taxon selections and corrects the button problem. Researchers should find version 3.2 useful. Both versions of Pollen Viewer require a Java enabled browser, such as  Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer. If you try to run either version and get a message indicating that you do not have a Java enabled browser, you are encouraged to download and install a free browser from either company's web site. Pollen Viewer is best viewed on monitors whose display resolution is set to 800 x 600 pixels.


The map animations are the collaborative product of the Brown University Quaternary Environment group and Patrick Bartlein at the University of Oregon. Many former students, postdocs and support staff have also contributed.

At Brown, Professor Tom Webb has been directing the QE group's efforts. Paige Newby, Bryan Shuman, and  Jack Williams worked on the development of a Brown pollen data base derived from the North American Pollen Database (NAPD). These data were used to calculate the pollen abundance displayed in the images.  Phil Leduc provided computer support for all aspects of the project and is the author of the Pollen Viewer applet.

The pollen data used for the animations were derived from the North American Pollen Database. Eric Grimm and co-workers, of the Illinois State Museum and the Paleoclimate Group at NGDC, NOAA, Boulder CO have developed and maintained NAPD over the past 10 years. NOAA and NSF Earth System History funding has supported Grimm's work. Numerous palynologists have contributed their data to the database over the last 30 years.

From Oregon, Patrick Bartlein contributed essential software and map data including a response surface program call Probfit, a Postscript plotting program called PSColor (which was used in conjunction with Adobe PhotoShop 5.5 to produce the images), the paleogeography and ice sheets for the vegetation reconstructions, and much helpful advice in the use and development of graphics. NSF Earth History support to TEMPO has funded this collaboration.

Coastal Studies     Geoarchaeology     Paleoclimates     Vegetation Dynamics