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Geological Sciences Seminar: Surangi Punyasena, University of Illinois

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021 12:00 PM
More Info:


Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Department of Geological Science

Fossil pollen, superresolution, machine learning, and plant evolution

Surangi Punyasena is an associate professor in Plant Biology at the University of Illinois. Her lab studies the influence of climate on the composition, structure, and long-term evolution of lowland Neotropical plant communities. Her research includes developing microscopy and computer methods to improve the quantity and quality of pollen and spore counts, in order to expand the scope of paleoecological research. Her talk will focus on recent advances in using convolutional neural networks and superresolution microscopy to classify examples of the deep-time pollen morphospecies Striatopollis catatubus, a pantropical Cenozoic legume. The results demonstrate that this single morphotype potentially represents multiple extant and extinct Amherstieae genera, raising the possibility that fossil pollen preserves much richer taxonomic and evolutionary information than has previously been recognized.  

Email Kelly Wells,, for Zoom link and password.

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