Launch of the Alliance of Severo Ochoa Centres and Maria de Maeztu Units of Excellence

​ The Secretary of State for R&D+i, Carmen Vela, chaired the kickoff meeting of the new Severo Ochoa and Maria Maeztu Alliance of Excellence.

Green gentrification can limit the favourable effects of green areas on health

A scientific research conducted by ICTA-UAB and IMIM suggests that more socially disadvantaged neighbours do not benefit equally from the effects newly created green areas have on health.

Candidates invited for 3 postdoc and 5 PhD student positions in ERC project of Prof. Jeroen van den Bergh

Prof. Jeroen van den Bergh’s project “Behavioral-evolutionary analysis of climate policy: Bounded rationality, markets and social interactions” (EVOCLIM), awarded with a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant, offers three postdoc positions (two of 5 years and one of 3 years) and five PhD research positions (each 4 years).

Oil contamination in the Amazon modifies chemical composition of rivers

A scientific study by the ICTA-UAB and ISS-EUR quantifies the environmental impact of oil extraction activities and contamination in headwaters of the Amazon.

ICTA-UAB researchers alert that oil palm plantations produce infertility in tropical lands

Oil palm plantations are replacing 40% of tropical forests and 32% of basic grain crops, according to an ICTA-UAB research conducted in Guatemala.

ICTA-UAB to study the sustainable use of soil and natural resources in the framework of the COUPLED program

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) will be awarded half a million euros in the framework of the COUPLED program, a European innovating training network.

UAB scientists and citizens can identify Barcelona's allergy-causing plants with the new Plant*tes app

The UAB Point of Information on Aerobiology (PIA) presented its new Plant*tes app in Barcelona as part of the BArcelona City Council's project entitled "Ciència Ciutadana als barris".

EJAtlas Includes 2,100 Case Studies on Socio-Environmental Conflicts Around the World

The Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas), created by researchers of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), currently includes 2,100 cases of ecological distribution conflicts identified in different parts of the world.

Unrestricted Improvements in Fishing Technology Threaten the Future of Seafood

A study conducted by ICTA-UAB researcher Eric Galbraith shows that future improvement of fishing technology poses a threat for the global fishery that could be greater than climate change.

¿Son los Pirineos una barrera real para el transporte atmosférico de polen?

Los resultados del estudio llevado a cabo por Jordina Belmonte y Concepción de Linares, investigadoras expertas en botánica de la UAB, constatan que el polen de abedul, una de las especies principales de plantas que causan alergia en Europa Central y del Norte.

Ice age thermostat prevented extreme climate cooling

During the ice ages, an unidentified regulatory mechanism prevented atmospheric CO2 concentrations from falling below a level that could have led to runaway cooling, reports a study conducted by researchers of the ICTA-UAB and published online in Nature Geoscience this week.

The New Theory of Economic “Agrowth” Contributes to the Viability of Climate Policies

 ICTA-UAB researcher Jeroen van den Bergh publishes in Nature Climate Change a study in which he proposes a new economic theory compatible with the fight against climate change.

Map Commemorating Women’s Resistance to Extractivism and Defense of Life and Territory in Latin America

A map created by researchers at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), the Latin-American Network of Women Defending Social and Environmental Rights and the Colombian NGO CENSAT-Agua Viva Friends of the Earth Colombia makes visible the struggles of women in Latin America against mining and in defense of life.

European Project to Analyse the Effects of Waste Generated by Tourism on Mediterranean Islands

An European study involving the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma e Barcelona will address and propose solutions to the effects of the increase of waste generated by tourism on Mediterranean islands during the summer season.

More Urban Green Needed in Barcelona to Have Positive Effects on Environmental Quality and Wellness

A PhD dissertation by Francesc Baró, from ICTA-UAB, quantifies and maps the benefits of urban and periurban green in Barcelona such as the improvement of air quality, climate change mitigation and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.

Social Relations, Success in Hunting and Good Health, Sources of Happiness for Indigenous People

Rural and indigenous people from the Global South push absolute income into the background as source of wellbeing.

More than One-Third of the Population Would Stop Economic Growth to Achieve Sustainability

A study by researchers of the Institut of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) assesses Spanish public opinion on economic growth, the environment and prosperity.

ICTA-UAB and ISGlobal Researchers Denounce Lack of Studies on the Harmful Health Effects of Oil Spills

A project led by ICTA-UAB, ISGlobal and the UAB Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in the Peruvian Amazon analyses the health effects of oil spills among people living close to oil extraction areas in developing countries.

The ICTA-UAB Will Assess, in Collaboration with EU Staff, the Effectiveness of EU Sustainability Policies

The EU Project MAGIC (H2020) coordinated by the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has the goal to study and develop new strategies for a better use of science for governance.
High levels of pollen expected this spring

Date: 2017-03-07

Roda de premsa -Presentació primavera pol·línica a Catalunya 2017


Researchers at ICTA-UAB recently presented the predictions of pollen and spore levels for this spring. The mild daytime temperatures and rain distribution point to significant pollinations of plane trees, parietaria, gramineae, plantago major, goosefoot and olive, among others.

Spring pollinations have begun quite punctually (some years it comes earlier) and the levels are very high, surpassing in many cases the historical maximums registered from 1994. These past years reveal that the extreme mildness of daytime temperatures has a greater effect than the cold evenings and nights with regard to the maturing of pollen in plants and the beginning of pollination. 
The intensity of the pollination is related to water availability, and the amount of summer and autumn rainfall has been enough to generate an important number of bloom. As the coordinator of the Aerobiological Network of Catalonia Jordina Belmonte said at a press conference: “It is going to be a difficult spring”. Belmonte is also director of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) and lecturer of the Department of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. 
Belmonte explained that “we predict important amount of pollen for this spring, especially of species such as plan trees, parietaria and gramineae, which are quite aggressive” and in cities such as Barcelona “50% of the pollen is produced by plane trees”. 
When pollinations coincide with rain they are affected because the raindrops drag the pollen and flowers to the ground. This has clearly happened with the pollen from cypresses, hazelnut trees, ash, poplar and elm, which has decreased drastically this year with the winter rains. Normally, when this happens pollinations occur during a shorter period of time and the pollen gathered is less than what is generated. 
However, the same rain that cleans the air of pollen (as well as the snow in the mountains when it melts) will serve to water plants which further on will produce more pollen, and therefore pollination in the spring and summer can be important among species such as parietaria, gramineae, plantago major, goosefoot, olive, etc. 
Is there anything which could change these predictions, which seem worrying for individuals with allergies? Yes, everything could change if there is much rain in the spring (current models point to that not being the case) and also if the temperatures rapidly rise higher than expected (this seems more probable). That would make the flowering and pollination period last less than usual and therefore affect people with allergies less. 
Allergic Pathologies

The President of the Catalan Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (SCAIC) Teresa Dordal explained at the presentation that “one and a half million people suffer from some respiratory allergy, which in 4 out of every 10 cases is caused by pollen”. Considering that this is the first cause of rhinitis and the second cause of asthma, the quantification of pollen grains in the atmosphere "is of vital importance to design therapeutic and prevention strategies for each allergy patient”. 
Despite there being less amounts of pollen in cities than in rural areas, respiratory allergies are on the rise. Air pollution and ornamental uses of allergenic species seem to explain this situation, given that "diesel particle emissions produced by cars and heating devices are able to modify the characteristics of the pollen, causing them to be even more allergenic", Dordal explains. In addition, climate change modifies the behaviour of plants and influences their periods of pollination. “Plants now pollinate for longer periods of time, and produce greater amounts of more aggressive pollen.”

ICTA's Activities