Our collection has three components (Working, Archival, Reference).
Working collection - soil and sediment samples, including lake sediment cores, mainly from sites in Alberta. Study sites span the postglacial interval (about 13,000 years to present). About 300 sites.
Archival collection - specimens (seeds, pollen, charcoal, and shells) extracted from samples, identified, and counted. Many specimens are small but numerous (thousands of specimens per sample).
Although these small specimens, like pollen, are not "showy" they can provide a wealth of knowledge about Alberta's past landscapes, changes in the environment over time, and peoples' use of landscape and plants in the past (e.g., berry collecting and plant gathering).
- Seed Reference Collection - total of 2,583 samples comprising seeds from 1,349 unique species (57% of Alberta's total recorded vascular plant species), average specimen (1 seed) size is 3 mm.
- Pollen Reference Collection - total of 998 samples comprising pollen from 646 unique species (27% of Alberta's total recorded vascular plant species), average specimen (1 pollen grain) size is 35 microns.
- Our program may accept suitable donations. Certain materials and collections are available for use by researchers and students. Please contact Diana Tirlea, Assistant Curator, if you are interested in using the collections. The former curator of this program is Alwynne Beaudoin, now the Director of Natural History.