Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 121–131 | Cite as

Vertical Distribution Patterns of Trace Elements in an Urban Environment as Reflected by their Accumulation in Lichen Transplants

  • S. A. Pirintsos
  • T. Matsi
  • D. Vokou
  • C. Gaggi
  • S. Loppi


The results of an investigation about the vertical distribution patterns of selected trace elements in an urban environment, as reflected by their accumulation in lichen transplants, are reported. Thalli of the lichen Pseudevernia furfuracea were transplanted in 2 sites in the urban area of Thessaloniki (N Greece), subjected to very different traffic loads: 1) Tsimiski, downtown of Thessaloniki, at one of the busiest streets of the city, a street canyon 2) Toumba, far from the city centre, at the edge of the city, at an open street. In each site, thalli were suspended along a vertical transect at 3, 6, 9 and 12 m, and retrieved after one year. The results showed that while at Toumba the elemental composition of lichen samples was essentially influenced by natural occurrence, mainly airborne soil dust, at Tsimiski also anthropogenic input of pollutants determined by vehicle traffic was involved for some elements such as Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn. The vertical distribution patterns of heavy metals accumulated in lichens showed that in general elevation has no statistically significant influence on the concentration of most metals, but this was not true for Pb, whose concentrations increased with increasing elevation from ground. Residents may thus be more exposed to high concentrations of Pb than pedestrians.


biomonitoring Greece Thessaloniki street canyon pollution heavy metals lichens Pseudevernia furfuracea 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Pirintsos
    • 1
  • T. Matsi
    • 2
  • D. Vokou
    • 3
  • C. Gaggi
    • 4
  • S. Loppi
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CreteThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Soil Science LaboratoryAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Department of EcologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Science “G. Sarfatti”University of SienaSienaItaly

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