The Quaternary Plants Section was established in 2000 when the Institute of Quaternary Palaeontology, Weimar, was joined with the Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft. The section continues the traditions of palaeobotanical research in Weimar, based on the abundant plant remains of the Thuringian Travertine deposits.
Together with the renaming of the Quaternary Plants Section into Quaternary Microflora Section with scientific focussing on palynological topics a second palaeobotanical section in Weimar (Quaternary macrofloras) was established in 2008.
The research activities are focused on acquiring high-resolution palynological data (annual to decadal scale) from laminated lake sediments, primarily from the Eurasian continent. The aim of this work is to reconstruct short- to medium-term climate variations and their effects on the local and regional vegetation. These studies provide key information for currently important palaeoecological questions (e.g. differentiation of human impact and climate change, signals in pollen records, biostratigraphical problems of the Late Quaternary) and for the understanding of the history of Quaternary ecosystems in Eurasia. Establishing precise independent chronologies allow inter-regional correlations local vegetation changes, which can be placed within the context of global climate changes.
The projects carried out in this section are included in the Senckenberg research field Biodiversity and Climate.
Currently, our palynological reference collection comprises about 1,400 modern pollen taxa. Fossil pollen floras include different palaeoecological archives from Eurasia (e. g. Lac Pavin, Sihailongwan maar lake, Mytina dry maar, Lonar crater).