Temperate airborne grass pollen defined by spatio-temporal shifts in community composition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Grass pollen is the world’s most harmful outdoor aeroallergen. However, it is unknown how airborne pollen assemblages change across time and space. Human sensitivity varies between different species of grass that flower at different times, but it is not known whether temporal turnover in species composition match terrestrial flowering or whether species richness steadily accumulates over the grass pollen season. Here, using targeted, high-throughput sequencing, we demonstrate that all grass genera displayed discrete, temporally restricted peaks of incidence, which varied with latitude and longitude throughout Great Britain, revealing that the taxonomic composition of grass pollen exposure changes substantially across the grass pollen season.


  • The PollerGEN Consortium
External organisations
  • Bangor University
  • Aberystwyth University
  • National Botanic Garden of Wales
  • University of Worcester
  • University of Exeter
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Queensland
  • Met Office
  • The Woodland Trust
  • Scottish Crop Research Institute
  • St Mary’s Hospital
  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford
  • University of York
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-754
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes