Paleo-art, courtesy of my mom.

Figure 4.6 by Erica Pratt
Figure 1. It’s not often you see art inspired by pollen diagrams, but this watercolor shows a figure from my thesis superimposed with flowers and pollen grains, painting by Erica Pratt.

After completing my Ph.D I sent my mom a copy of my thesis. She claimed to have read it, and of course I didn’t really believe it, but for my (upcoming) birthday this year she gave me this painting (Figure 1), inspired by Figure 4.6 from my thesis, a pollen diagram of aerial pollen trapped in Vancouver over the course of 13 years. I suspect it’s one of the few painting inspired by a stratigraphic pollen diagram, but I’d love to see others.

Stratigraphic pollen diagram
Figure 2. The thesis figure that the painting is based on. If you’ve never seen a stratigraphic diagram before, time is on the y axis and each pollen taxon is drawn on a percent basis (the x axis), taxon by taxon.

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Assistant scientist in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Studying paleoecology and the challenges of large data synthesis.

10 thoughts on “Paleo-art, courtesy of my mom.”

    1. Yes, I realized soon after posting that I should have added it, but I won’t be on a computer with my thesis until later tonight. I was just hoping no one would notice! The lines behind the flowers are actually pretty faithful representations of each of the pollen taxa though.

  1. That’s great – really thoughtful.

    Not exactly palaeo, but my partner converted some academic text in one of John Birk’s biogeography papers into a short poem:

    Lochan an Druim tromh na Linntean

    (after H. J. B Birks; OS Grid Reference: NC435568)

    Leaves of the obligate snow-bed moss,
    Polytrichum sexangulare,
    indicate areas of late snow-lie,
    low near the lochan.

    Scattered plants form
    sparse cover on open soils,
    an arctic assemblage:
    long-lasting snow beds and
    meltwater runnels.

    The Holocene opens: dwarf-shrub heaths,
    and open birch woods;
    a mosaic of
    birch and hazel,
    aspen, rowan and willow,
    ferns and tall herbs.

    1. That’s great! My sister’s boyfriend told us this weekend that a poet friend of his took one of his final exams (he’s a Chemistry prof) and composed answers to them, without any knowledge of the field. I’m curious to see that, I’ll see if I can track it down.

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