...“extra fossils“ in pollen slides


This webpage aims to gather information about NPP, structuring it by nomenclature and where possible taxonomy and help by identification. The NPP database is functioning as a project. Open access is restricted. If you want to contribute to the project, please contact us.


A chapter on NPP analysis by Shumilovskikh and van Geel just came out in a book edited by Amanda Henry Handbook for the Analysis of Micro-Particles in Archaeological Samples.
This handbook provides a resource for those already familiar with some kinds of micro-particles who wish to learn more about others, or for those just starting out in the study of microremains who wish to have a broad understanding about microscopic archaeology. Topics covered in this handbook include diatom microfossils, starch granules, pollen grains, phytoliths, natural fibers, volcanic glass, minerals, insect remains, and feathers.

An updated version of the NPP Gallery is online. Now all available microphotographs in the database are on your display. We hope it will make your NPP identification work easier.

IPC NPP session M04 "Extra microfossils in pollen slides: from environmental indicators to biotic interactions".
This session focuses on bringing together scientists exploring NPPs in a broad range of disciplines, including modern ecology, palaeoecology, palaeopalynology, forensic science and aerobiology to share their newly gained knowledge.
You can submit your abstract until 31 March 2020 through the conference website.

Session M04 "Extra microfossils in pollen slides: from environmental indicators to biotic interactions":
Non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs) represent a large, heterogeneous group of organism remains that appear as “extra microfossils” in pollen slides. Taxonomically, NPPs belong to a wide variety of fungi, animals, algae, and plants. Although many NPPs still remain unknown, they provide essential ecological information that can be used to interpret environmental and landscape changes in the past. NPPs record former environmental conditions, allowing assessment of trophic stage, moisture conditions, dry phases, pastoral activities, disturbances and erosion in the study area. Furthermore, they represent an essential tool for tracing biotic interactions in the last several thousands to millions of years. Identification of NPPs, improvements in understanding their ecological meaning, critical evaluation of their indicative values, biases and limitations of these proxies, are crucial questions for palaeoecological reconstructions. We welcome presenters exploring NPPs in a broad range of disciplines, including modern ecology, palaeoecology, palaeopalynology, forensic science and aerobiology to share their newly gained knowledge.

New NPP papers:
- Stivrins N, Cerina A, Gałka M, Heinsalu A, Lõugas L, Veski S (2019) Large herbivore population and vegetation dynamics 14,600–8300 years ago in central Latvia, northeastern Europe. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 266: 42-51.
- Stivrins N, Aakala T, Ilvonen L, Pasanen L, Kuuluvainen T, Vasander H, Gałka M, Disbrey HR, Liepins J, Hölmström L, Seppä H (2019) Integrating fire-scar, charcoal and fungal spore data to study fire events in the boreal forest of northern Europe. The Holocene in press DOI: 10.1177/0959683619854524.
- Perrotti AG, van Asperen E (2019) Dung fungi as a proxy for megaherbivores: opportunities and limitations for archaeological applications. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 28: 93-104.

NPP database is operating as a Project now. Open use is restricted. In order to use the full version of the database, please log in.

NPP workshop will take place during the Pollen Monitoring Program meeting in Riga, 20-23 August 2019.
Deadline for registration is on the 20th March 2019.

New NPP papers included in the literature database:

Tunno I, Mesing SA (2017) The value of non-pollen palynomorphs in interpreting paleoecological change in the Great Basin (Nevada, USA). Quaternary Research 87: 529-543.
Pound MJ, O Keefe JMK, Nuñez Otaño NB, Riding JB (2019) Three new Miocene fungal palynomorphs from the Brassington Formation, Derbyshire, UK. Palynology, DOI: 10.1080/01916122.2018.1473300.

*** at request of Encarni Montoya ***

VIII Workshop on Non-Pollen Palynomorphs
The VIII Workshop on Non-Pollen Palynomorphs (NPPs) will be held in Barcelona and it will consist of a joint event between phytoliths and NPPs. The workshop will be from 15th to 19th July 2019, with events at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the Insitute of Earth Sciences Jaume ALmera (CSIC).
The phytoliths days (15-17th July) will consist of an introductory workshop to learn the use and applications of phytoliths in archaeological and palaeoeoclogical reserach and it will be leaded by Prof. Marco Madella (UPF).
The NPPs section of the workshop (17-19th July) will keep the same structure as previous workshops, with oral and poster contributions, as well as microscope session and final round table for discussion.
For more detailed information, about the registration and abstracts submission deadlines, please visit the webpage.

New NPP papers published in 2018 to algal palynomorphs :

McCarthy FMG, Riddick NL, Volik O, Danesh DC, Krueger AM (2018) Algal palynomorphs as proxies of human impact on freshwater resources in the Great Lake region. Anthropocene 21: 16-31.

Stivrins N, Soininen J, Tõnno I, Freiberg R, Veski S, Kisand V (2018) Towards understanding the abundance of non-pollen palynomorphs: A comparison of fossil algae, algal pigments and sedaDNA from temperate lake sediments. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 249: 9-15.

A list of papers using NPP in multi-proxy approach :

Enevold R, Rasmussen P, Løvschal M, Olsen J, Odgaard BV (2018) Circumstantial evidence of non-pollen palynomorph palaeoecology: a 5,500 year NPP record from forest hollow sediments compared to pollen and macrofossil inferred palaeoenvironments. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, in press.

Jones SE, Burjachs F, Ferrer-García C, Giralt S, Schulte L, Fernández-López de Pablo J (2018) A multi-proxy approach to understanding complex responces of salt-lake catchments to climate variability and human pressure: A Late Quaternary case study from south-eastern Spain. Quaternary Science Reviews 184: 201-223.

Bosi G, Labate D, Rinaldi R, Montecchi MC, Mazzanti M, Torri P, Riso FM, Mercuri AM (2018) A survey of the Late Roman period (3rd-6th century AD): Pollen, NPPs and seeds/fruits for reconstructing environmental and cultural changes after the floods in Northern Italy. Quaternary International, in press.

A new NPP gallery is on-line. Please test it and enjoy!

New papers evaluating using of Sporormiella and other NPP in palaeoreconstructions:

Etienne D, Wilhelm B, Sabastier P, Reyss J-L, Arnaud F (2013) Influence of sample location and livestock numbers on Sporormiella concentrations and accumulation rates in surface sediments of Lake Allos, French Alps. Journal of Paleolimnology 49: 117-127.

Etienne D, Jourffroy-Bapicot I (2014) Optimal counting limit for fungal spore abundance estimation using Sporormiella as a case study. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 23: 743-749.

Doyen E, Etienne D (2017) Ecological and human land-use indicator value of fungal spore morphotypes and assemblages. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 26: 357-367.

New NPP papers published in 2016 and 2017 and included in the NPP literature database:

Hawksworth DL, van Geel B, Wiltshire PEJ (2016) The enigma of the Diporotheca palynomorph. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 235: 94-98.

Revelles J, van Geel B (2016) Human impact and ecological changes in lakeshore environments. The contribution of non-pollen palynomorphs in Lake Banyoles (NE Iberia). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 232, 81-97.

Revelles J, Burjachs F, van Geel B (2016) Pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs from the Early Neolithic settlement of La Draga (Girona, Spain). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 225, 1-20.

van Asperen EN, Kirby JR, Hunt CO (2016) The effect of preparation methods on dung fungal spores: Implications for recognition of megafaunal populations. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 229: 1-8.

Expósito I, Burjachs F, Allué E (2017) Filling in the gaps: The contribution of non-pollen palynomorphs to knowledge about the local environment of the Sierra de Atapuerca caves during the Pleistocene. Quaternary International 433, 224-242.

Ghosh R, Paruya DK, Acharya K, Ghorai N, Bera S (2017) How reliable are non-pollen palynomorphs in tracing vegetation changes and grazing activities? Study from the Darjeeling Himalaya, India. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 475: 23-40.

Musotto LL, Borromei AM, Bianchinotti MV, Coronato A (2017) Late Quaternary palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of central Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) based on pollen and fungi. Quaternary International 442: 13-25.

Rodríguez-Zorro PA, Lima da Costa M, Behling H (2017) Mid-Holocene vegetation dynamics with an early expansion of Mauritia flexuosa palm trees inferred from the Serra do Tepequém in the savannas of Roraima State in Amazonia, northwestern Brazil. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 26:455-468.

van Asperen E (2017) Fungal diversity on dung of tropical animals in temperate environments: Implications for reconstructing past megafaunal populations. Fungal Ecology 28: 25-32.

NPP session # 28 "Filling the gaps about non-pollen palynomorph ecological significance" at the EPPC 2018 in Dublin, Ireland:
Since first introduced 40 years ago, the description and analysis of terrestrial organic-walled microfossils other than pollen, moss and fern spores from pollen slides have enabled to further explore past environmental conditions, such as relating human activities and landscape. Many of the so called non-pollen palynomorphs have been identified and their ecological significance specified, thus providing valuable additional information to classical palaeo-ecological studies. However, the ecology of many described types is still unknown. The very nature of NPPs is multi-disciplinary. More than ever is it necessary to combine efforts of experts from a broad scale of domains to develop the NPPs’ vast potential.
The objective of this session is to make a leap forward regarding our understanding of the significance of current or new palynomorphs. By comparing the occurrence of new or poorly known NPP taxa with the ecological conditions reconstructed from other proxies, multi-disciplinary studies are likely to reveal the ecological requirements of these types. During this anniversary session, we would like to emphasise such studies in order to shed new light about the ecological value of NPPs. We believe this will serve and extend the interpretation of future studies. To this aim, we welcome proposals that unveil so far unsuspected value to new or known NPPs from any taxonomical group. We encourage proposals covering large time scales within the Quaternary period, but also studies on modern assemblages.

abtract submission

New NPP paper "Non-pollen palynomorphs notes: 2. Holocene record of Megalohypha aqua-dulces, its relation to the fossil form genus Fusiformisporites and association with lignicolous freshwater fungi" by Shumilovskikh et al. is on-line. The link for free download is working until September 02, 2017.

Here is the call for papers for the Association for Environmental Archaeology meeting being held in Edinburgh, UK in December 2017:

The VII Workshop on Non-Pollen Palynomorphs started today. Exciting talks and posters, several microscopic sessions and round-table discussion will take place in Liverpool, UK from 12th to 14th of June 2017. Further details here:

Funding to support early career researchers for participation of the NPP meeting are available:

The VII Workshop on Non-Pollen Palynomorphs will take place in Liverpool, UK from 12th to 14th of June 2017. Deadline for abstract submission is the 14th of May 2017. More information at the workshop webpage:

There is a session on Non-Pollen Palynomorphs (SS16) at the XIV IPC / X IOPC in Salvador (Brazil):
We would be happy to get your contributions!