Comparative palynology of Macrotermes sp. mounds and Vespula vulgaris nests on the University of Lagos campus, Akoka: preliminary study
 
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1
Laboratory of Paleobotany/ Palynology, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Akoka
2
Department of Biology, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
3
Entomology Unit, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos
Online publication date: 2017-12-19
Publication date: 2017-12-19
 
Acta Palaeobotanica 2017; 57(2): 397–406
 
ABSTRACT
In order to assess the environmental indicator potential of wasp nests and termite mounds, the palynomorph content of three randomly selected Macrotermes sp. mounds (termitaria) and two Vespula vulgaris nests collected on the University of Lagos campus were examined. Palynological analysis showed the presence of 298 well-preserved palynomorphs showing characteristic morphological features. The recovered palynomorphs included pollen, pteridophyte spores and fungal spores, along with insect parts (106), diatoms (7) and a protist (1). The pollen assemblage of termite mounds comprised 78 pollen and pteridophyte spores, with Poaceae and Arecaceae pollen as dominants. In the wasp nest the pollen assemblage comprised 28 pollen and spore taxa, with Poaceae and Arecaceae pollen also dominant. Both mounds and nests had, besides diatoms, six pollen and spore taxa: Poaceae, Amaranthaceae, Pteridophyte spores, Arecaceae, Raffia sp. and Rhizophora sp. Vegetational grouping of the recovered pollen and spores indicated five phytoecological groups: secondary forest, mangrove swamp forest, freshwater, open vegetation and Poaceae. In statistical analyses, termite mounds had a higher species richness value (2.08 as compared to 1.99 from the wasp nests), while the wasp nests had a higher species diversity value (0.997 as compared to 0.845 from the termite mounds). Pollen analyses of the termite mounds and wasp nests suggest that both could be useful tools in environmental studies. This is the first attempt to evaluate the potential of termite mounds and wasps nest as natural pollen accumulators in Nigeria. The results suggest new possibilities for the use of the pollen records preserved in termite mounds and wasp nests for environmental studies.
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