Monitoring Lichens as Indicators of Pollution
Lichens are ubiquitous and are currently increasing in many urban areas as a direct consequence of decreased SO2 levels (see chapters 1–3, this volume).
They lack a protective outer cuticle and absorb both nutrients and pollutants over much of their outer surface from predominantly aerial sources.
Their symbiotic nature. The fungus is obligate; if either partner is damaged by pollution this will result in a breakdown of the symbiosis, and ultimately to the death of the lichen.
They are perennial organisms available for monitoring throughout the year.
Many lichen species accumulate high metal contents without exhibiting damage, thereby permitting monitoring over wide areas.
Different methods exist providing opportunities for all ages and abilities.
Instruments are vulnerable to theft and vandalism.
KeywordsLichen Species Copper Smelter High Metal Content Lichen Diversity Broad Geographical Scale
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