Effects of air temperature, humidity and air pollution on fertility of birch pollen in urban environments

Abstract

O.V. Bychkova, L.P. Khlebova

We studied effects of environmental factors on pollen fertility of Betula pendula Roth.) in 15 sites of the city of Barnaul (Russia, Altai Territory), differing in traffic intensity. We found that low temperature was more stressful for the development of birch pollen compared to high one. When the temperature drops below +8°C, the amount of sterile pollen in all locations significantly increased regardless of the anthropogenic load, on average exceeding 8%. With an increase in temperature of more than +10 °C, the proportion of sterile pollen also increased, but the jump was not as sharp as in cold weather. The optimum temperature for the formation of fertile pollen grains was in the range of 8–10 °?. The optimal humidity for the development of fertile pollen of B. pendula was 40–45%. The increase in air dryness led to a significant decrease in the quality of pollen grains, the proportion of sterile ones exceeded 8%. According to the transmission coefficient (Keff = 0.1514), the dominant factor in the development of sterile pollen grains of birch was the level of air pollution (concentration of carbon monoxide). Air temperature (Keff = 0.1427) and humidity (Keff = 0.1427) affected equally the quality of pollen. The proposed model makes it possible to predict the level of sterile birch pollen in the conditions of Barnaul depending on the weather conditions of vegetation and on the level of pollutants in the atmosphere.
Key words: Betula pendula Roth.; Pollen sterility; Pollution; Carbon monoxide; Air temperature; Humidity; Information statistics
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