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Palynology, also sometimes referred to as micropaleontology, is the multi-disciplinary field that studies pollen in sediments with the goal of reconstructing past climates, plant populations, and species identification. It uses many techniques from other fields such as geology, botany, paleontology, pedology, and geography. Forensic palynology is the study of pollens for evidence at a crime scene. Melissopalynology is the study of pollen and spores found in honey.

Because relative distributions of pollen and spores give clues to ancient biostratigraphy and environments, one common and lucrative application of palynology is in oil and gas exploration.