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The spatial and temporal distribution of pollen in a room: forensic implications.

Morgan, RM; Allen, E; King, T; Bull, PA; (2014) The spatial and temporal distribution of pollen in a room: forensic implications. Sci Justice , 54 (1) 49 - 56. 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.03.005. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper presents two experimental studies that deal with the spatial and temporal distribution of pollen grains within a room of a domestic dwelling. The findings concur with the preliminary work of Morgan et al. [1] and provide greater detail as to the behaviour of pollen grains within indoor locations that are pertinent for forensic investigations. The spatial distribution of pollen in a room exhibits strong distance decay trends, with the majority of pollen recovered within 0.8m of its source. The pollen was found to persist in increasing quantities during the time the flowers were in the room. This study also shows that 20days after the flowers were removed, 25-32% of the original pollen was still present within the room. The influence of disturbance was investigated and whilst areas of high disturbance were found to retain less pollen than undisturbed locations, the influence of the proximity to source was a more dominant factor. These findings have significant implications for forensic investigation protocols, particularly the collection and interpretation phases of trace evidence analysis. The distribution of pollen around a room ensures that viable sources of trace pollen are available for transfer if contact is made between a location in the room and a suspect. The persistence of pollen many days after the flowers have been removed from a room indicates that many rooms in domestic dwellings will have distinctive assemblages that reflect the history of the flowers that have been displayed within that room in the past, and that these assemblages will persist and therefore be available for transfer. These preliminary findings indicate that investigation by forensic palynology in indoor domestic settings may well be an underutilised technique that has the potential to provide accurate and valuable intelligence and evidence for forensic enquiry.

Type: Article
Title: The spatial and temporal distribution of pollen in a room: forensic implications.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scijus.2013.03.005
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2013.03.005
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Forensic Science Society. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Keywords: Domestic room, Experimental studies, Forensic palynology, Indoor setting, Spatial and temporal trends, Trace evidence protocols, Forensic Sciences, Lilium, Pollen, Specimen Handling
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1425730
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