Airborne grass (Poaceae) pollen in southern Spain. Results of a 10-year study (1987–96)


Dr Francisco José González Minero Department of Plant Biology and Ecology Faculty of Pharmacy University of Seville PO Box 874 E-41012 Seville Spain


This work reports an exhaustive study of the aerobiology of the Gramineae in Seville, Spain, which is typical of coastal Mediterranean areas. Sampling was done with a Cour trap installed on the roof terrace of the School of Pharmacy, Seville, from 1987 to 1996, both inclusive. The climatic pattern of that period was characterized by two exceptionally wet years (1989 and 1996), between which were 5 consecutive years of drought (1990–5). This typieally Mediterranean climate affects grass aerobiology. The annual amounts of total grass pollen are low, never exceeding 25(X) grains/m3. The start, length, and intensity of the pollen season are significantly correlated with preseasonal meteorologic factors (precipitation and temperature), but intraseasonal meteorologic conditions have no effect on the three variables. The relationships are stated by three equations that, while further years of observations are anticipated, can be considered models to forecast the characteristics of the pollen season: the starting date depends on the mean temperatures of January and February, and the length and intensity of the season depend on the rainfall between the beginning of January and the starting date of the season. For the study period, the weekly concentrations (pollen curves) throughout the year showed no typical pattern of variation over the years, so that it was impossible to make mid- and long-term forecasts of the variation in weekly concentration. The most noteworthy aspects of grass pollen curves are a long pollen season, which starts in February or March and lasts until September or October; peaks of higher concentration (>1(K) grains/m3) in May and June, associated with increases in temperature and absence of precipitation; and other peaks in the summer months that may be as high as the spring peaks.