14 Mar 2022
14 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Artemisia pollen dataset for exploring the potential ecological indicators in deep time

Li-Li Lu1,4,, Bo-Han Jiao1,4,, Feng Qin2,, Gan Xie1,, Kai-Qing Lu1,4, Jin-Feng Li1, Bin Sun1, Min Li1, David K. Ferguson3, Tian-Gang Gao1,4, Yi-Feng Yao1,4, and Yu-Fei Wang1,4 Li-Li Lu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 20 Nanxincun Xiangshan, Beijing 100093, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 3University of Vienna, Institute of Palaeontology, Althanstrasse 14, Vienna A-1090, Austria
  • 4University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Artemisia, along with Chenopodiaceae is the dominant component growing in the desert and dry grassland of the Northern Hemisphere. Artemisia pollen with its high productivity, wide distribution, and easy identification, is usually regarded as an eco-indicator for assessing aridity and distinguishing grassland from desert vegetation in terms of the pollen relative abundance ratio of Chenopodiaceae/Artemisia (C/A). Nevertheless, divergent opinions on the degree of aridity evaluated by Artemisia pollen have been circulating in the palynological community for a long time. To solve the conclusion, we first selected 36 species from 9 clades and 3 outgroups of Artemisia based on the phylogenetic framework, which attempts to cover the maximum range of pollen morphological variation. Then, sampling, experiments, photography, and measurements were taken using standard methods. Here, we present pollen datasets containing 4018 original pollen photographs, 7200 statistical pollen morphological traits, information on 30858 source plant occurrences, and corresponding environmental factors. Hierarchical cluster analysis on pollen morphological traits was carried out to subdivide Artemisia pollen into three types. When plotting the three pollen types of Artemisia onto the global terrestrial ecoregions, different pollen types of Artemisia were found to have different habitat ranges. These findings change the traditional concept of Artemisia being restricted to arid and semi-arid environments. The data framework that we designed is open and expandable for new pollen data of Artemisia worldwide. In the future, linking pollen morphology with habitat via these pollen datasets will create additional knowledge that will increase the resolution of the ecological environment in the geological past. The Artemisia pollen datasets are freely available at Zenodo (; Lu and Jiao, 2022).

Li-Li Lu et al.

Status: open (until 23 Jun 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-23', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Apr 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-23', Angela Bruch, 20 Apr 2022 reply

Li-Li Lu et al.

Data sets

Artemisia pollen dataset for exploring the potential ecological indicators in deep time Lu, Li-Li & Jiao, Bo-Han

Li-Li Lu et al.


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Short summary
Artemisia is one of the dominant plant elements in the arid and semi-arid regions. We attempt to decipher the underlying causes of the long-standing disagreement on the correlation between Artemisia pollen and aridity by using the dataset to recognize the different ecological implications of Artemisia pollen types. Our findings improve the resolution of palaeoenvironmental assessment and change the traditional concept of Artemisia being restricted to arid and semi-arid environments.