Palynologists at the University of Arizona

  • Steve Buchmann
  • Owen K. Davis
  • Susan K. Fish
  • Mary Kay O'Rourke
  • Jonathan Overpeck
  • Nicea Wilder


    Attended graduation regularly since 1983
    Age: 56 (born March 13, 1949)
    Married: Two Sons, Born 2/9/83 and 11/18/85
    Address: Department of Geosciences
         University of Arizona
         Tucson, Arizona 85721
         (520) 621-7953

         Curriculum Vitae
         His research interests are the past ecology and climate of arid regions, studying the pollen and plant fossils preserved in the sediments of lakes, marshes, and caves. Current topics include the development of the
  • North American Deserts
  • Solar variability and climate change
  • The history of Southwestern wetlands
  • Archaeological palynology.

    Research Facilities:
         The pollen laboratory includes cold storage, a wet lab, a microscope lab, and reference collections.

         His courses include Student Research Opportunities:
         Students in the pollen lab have payed research positions to collect data and to help write scientific publications.

    STEPHEN BUCHMANN is a pollination ecologist at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology. His research concerns insect/plant interactions especially pollination ecology and foraging/mating biology of all bees (melittology) especially carpenter bees, mason bees and bumblebees. He has conducted studies in the fields of chemical ecology, biophysics of wind-pollinated plants and the evolution of pollen specialization by solitary bees.
    Learn more about him at
    He can be reached at

    SUSANNE K. FISH is an Archeologist and Palynologist at the Arizona State Museum. She has completed over 50 palynological studies of archaeological deposits in the American Southwest and in other arid lands. She is a 1993 graduate of the Department of Arid Lands. Her dissertation was entitled, "Agriculture and society in arid lands: a Hohokam case study." Susanne can be reached at the Arizona State Museum or

    MARY KAY O'ROURKE is a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Respiratory Sciences Center at the University of Arizona. Her research addresses human exposure to airborne pollen and mold spores. She has served as Secretary General for the International Association for Aerobiology and Secretary-Treasurer for the Pan American Aerobiology Association. She is a 1986 graduate of the Department of Geosciences. Mary Kay can be reached at and you can learn more about her at
    Snail mail can be sent to: Respiratory Sciences Center, AHSC, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724 USA.

    JONATHAN OVERPECK is the director of the Institute for the Study of the Planet Earth at the University of Arizona. His primary research interest is Global Change particularly the dynamics of the Earth's climate system (i.e., atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and cryosphere), with particular emphasis on using the Late Quaternary record of climate system dynamics to understand how the Earth system might change in the future.
    Learn more about him at and
    He can be reached at

    NICEA M. T. WILDER lives in Tucson with her husband John.


    The University of Arizona has been the home of many outstanding palynologists, but it is the long-standing research of three individuals, which has given the program international recognition:

    Cranwellia rumseynsis in Traverse 1988 Lucy Cranwell Smith (1907 - 2000)
    F.L.S., F.R.S.N.Z., began the study of microfossils under the guidance of Lennart von Post, founder of pollen analysis, during the winter of 1935-36: a joint paper presenting the first Australasian pollen diagrams was published in Stockholm in 1936. Morphological studies of pollen from New Zealand and related genera and species followed (Conifers 1938, Nothofagus 1939, 1963, 1964, keys to New Zealand genera 1942, monocots 1953, Acmopyle 1961, and others. Her arrival in the U.S. was hearlded in Paul Sears' Pollen Analysis Circular ( 1944, no. 6 ). Pioneer reports on Antarctic sediments dealt with McMurdo erratics (1960 with H.J. Harrington and I. Speden), and reports on upper Cretaceous and Tertiary (Campanian to Eocene) finds (not in situ) from Seymour Island and Snow Hill (1959, 1964, 1966, 1969). Similar Eocene deposits were traced to Southern Chile and worked on with Cookson (1967). Lucy has been appointed an Honorary Member of the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, was awarded the Hector Medal form the Royal Society of New Zealand and won the Loder Cup for Auckland Institute and Museum while Botanist there (1929-1944). She continues to pursue her interest in Gondwana floras and Hawaiian peats, in which she feels bogged down.
    In 1983, Lucy Cranwell and Watson Smith established the Cranwell Award in Palynology for Graduate Students.

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    Ulmoideipites krempii drawing by Jan Jansonius Gerhard O. W. Kremp (1913 - 1994)
    Gerhard was a renowned coal palynologist and pollen morphologist. His 148 scholarly publications include two pivotal books: Morphological Encyclopedia of Palynology, and The Spores of Pteridophytes. Kremp founded PALYNODATA a computerized bibliographic service, and from 1977 to 1984 edited Paleo Data Banks a bibliography of pollen morphological literature. With Terah Smiley, and Paul Martin, Gerhard organized the First International Pollen Congress, April 23-27, 1962, and the Fourth Annual Meeting of The American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, October 13-16, 1971. In 1970, he received the Gunnar Erdtman International Medal of Palynology.
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    Paul S. Martin
    Paul Martin established Quaternary Palynology at the University of Arizona. His pioneering analyses, with his students Dick Hevly, Jim Schoenwetter, Peter Mehringer, Dave Adam and Jim King established palynology as a basis for geochronology and archaeology of the American Southwest. Paul's book The Last 10,000 Years summarized the early research in Southern Arizona. In the Grand Canyon, Paul found exquisitely preserved pollen in dry cave sediments including human and animal dung. These works remain the cornerstone for Quaternary Palynology of the region. Currently, Paul continues his work on the cause and consequences of ice age extinctions. In 1999, Paul Martin was awarded The Distinguished Career Award, by the American Quaternary Association.


    Owen Davis 12/99