Non-pollen palynomorphs (or NPP) are microscopic objects of 10-250 µm with a characteristic morphology resistant to decomposition processes and standard palynological laboratory treatments.
Standard procedure might include treatments with HCl, KOH, HF, heavy liquid and acetolysis – all or several of them.
Microfossils in pollen slides got attention since a very beginning of palynology as science. Thus, Karl Rudolph published in 1917 his work “Untersuchungen über den Aufbau Böhmische Moore. I. Aufbau und Entwicklungsgeschichte Südböhmischer Hochmoore” (Studies to composition of Böhmisch peatlands. I. Composition and development history of South-Bohemian peat bogs), where beside pollen and botanical macroremains he described and drew microfossils of animal and fungal origin and used them in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions (Rudolph 1917). In 1929, Herbert Hesmer published “Mikrofossilien in Torfen” (“Microfossils in peat deposits”), where he provided information on ecology and in some cases also microphotographs of different microfossils. Later on, David G. Frey (1964) published in his work “Remains of animals in quaternary lake and bog sediments and their interpretation” a comprehensive overview of the microfossils of animal origin from Holocene lacustrine sediments and peat deposits. However, systematic studies on NPP were started with studies of Bas van Geel and his colleagues of the Hugo de Vries-Laboratory at Amsterdam University, The Netherlands (e.g. Bakker and van Smeerdijk 1982; Kuhry 1985; Pals et al. 1980; van der Wiel 1982; van Geel 1978; van Geel et al. 1981, 1983a, 1983b, 1989). During routine pollen counting they documented all unknown “extra” microfossils under a type number (Type 1, Type 2, Type 3 etc.). Morphological descriptions of NPP were provided with microphotographs and where possible assignment to extant taxa, in combination with discussions on their stratigraphic position and indicator values. The identification was carried out with help of biological literature and consulting of colleagues in mycology, phycology, zoology and plant anatomy. Even so the majority of the types is not identified yet, they can be used as palaeoecological indicators. This systematic approach of NPP documentation led to a strong development of the field in the last 40 years and the total amount of types exceeded 1300 (Miola 2012).
Bakker R, van Smeerdijk DG (1982) A palaeoecological study of a Late Holocene section from 'Het Ilperweld', W. Netherlands. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 36: 95-163. Frey DG (1964) Remains of animals in Quaternary lake and bog sediments and their interpretation. Ergebnisse der Limnologie 2: 1-114. Hesmer H (1929) Mikrofossilien in Torfen. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 11: 245–257. Kuhry P (1985) Transgressions of a raised bog across a coverstand ridge originally covered with an oak-lime forest. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 44: 313-353. Miola A (2012) Tools for Non-Pollen Palynomorphs (NPPs) analysis: A list of Quaternary NPP types and reference literature in English language (1972-2011). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 186: 142-161. Pals JP, van Geel B, Delfos A (1980) Palaeoecological studies in the Klokkeweel bog near Hoogkarspel (prov of Noord-Holland). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 30: 371-418. Rudolph K (1917) Untersuchungen über den Aufbau Böhmischer Moore. I. Aufbau und Entwicklungsgeschichte Südböhmischer Hochmoore. Abhandlungen der K.K. Zool.-Botan. Gesellschaft in Wien 9(4): 1-116. van der Wiel AM (1982) A palaeoecological study of a section from the foot of the Hazendonk (Zuid-Holland), based on the analysis of pollen, spores and macroscopic remains. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 38: 35-90. van Geel B (1978) A palaeoecological study of Holocene peat bog sections in Germany and the Netherlands, based on the analysis of pollen, spores and macro- and microscopic remains of fungi, algae cormophytes and anymals. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 25: 1-120. van Geel B, Bohncke SJP, Dee H (1981) A palaecological study of an upper Late Glacial and Holocene sequence from 'De Borchert', The Netherlands. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 31: 367-448. van Geel B, Bos JM, Pals JP (1983a) Archaeological and palaeoecological aspects of a medieval house terp in a reclaimed raised bog area in North Holland. Ber. Rijksd. Oudheidk. Bodemonderz. 33: 419-444. van Geel B, Hallewas DP, Pals JP (1983b) A Late Holocene deposit under the Westfriese Zeedijknear Enkhuizen (Prov of Noord-Holland, The Netherlands): palaeoecological and archaeological aspects. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 38: 269-335. van Geel B, Coope GR, van der Hammen T (1989) Palaeoecology and stratigraphy of the Lateglacial type section at Usselo (The Netherlands). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 60: 25-129.