Studies carried out in the Department of Palaeobotany concern history of fossil flora, plant cover changes and evolution of sedimentary basins for over 250 million years. The results are significant for the other scientific disciplines such as palaeogeography and palaeoclimatology. Reconstructions are based on pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs analysis as well as on studies of plant macro-remains, especially fossil fruits, seeds, wood, charcoal and leaves extracted from deposits collected on natural and anthropogenic sites. It is determined both taxonomic affiliation and palaeoecological requirements of taxa, preserved in sediments, dated to Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary periods. The studied palnt remains come from Poland, the other European countries such as Hungary, Germany, Ukraine, Greece, Cyprus, Russia and Georgia as well as from Antarctica. The works are carried out in international and interdisciplinary cooperation.
The important direction in scientific activity of the Department of Palaeobotany are archaeobotanical studies focussed on relationship between settlement, human activity and character of vegetation. The goal of studies is to gain knowledge in the field of: (1) history of cultivated plants; (2) development of agriculture and changes of paleodiet e.g. on the basis of the stable N and C isotopes analysis; (3) role of wild plant in the prehistoric economy; (4) woodland disturbances caused by deforestation and wood exploitation, registered in the pollen record from annually laminated lake sediments as well as in antracological data; (5) environmental and technological conditions of the wood raw material selection in Polish strongholds and early urban centres in the Middle.
Department of Palaeobotany organizes scientific conferences and workshops in the field of palaeoecology and archaeobotany, conducts a popularizing and educational activity on various levels of knowledge.
Current research activities
- Biodiversity and palaeoecology of Triassic and Jurassic sites from Poland and Europe. Barbacka-Bóka, A. Jarzynka
- Leaf floras from Tertiary lignite deposits from Bełchatów. G. Worobiec
- Palynological analysis (including non-pollen palynomorphs) of the Paleogene and Neogene deposits from Poland. E. Worobiec
- Reconstruction of fotest communities changes based on anthracological investigation of the late Pleistocene and Holocene archaeological and natural sites from Poland. M. Moskal-del Hoyo
- Reconstruction of climate and environmental changes in Pleistocene based on analysis of plant macroremains. R. Stachowicz-Rybka
- Historiy of cultivated and useful plants on the basis of archaeobotanical studies. A. Mueller-Bieniek
- Postglacial vegetation history and development of cultural landscape in Poland in the context of settlement and climate changes. A. Wacnik
- Quaternary vegetation in Poland reconstructed on the basis of palynological databases and POLPAL program applications. D. Nalepka