Moss and Lichen as Atmospheric Biomonitors of Anthropogenic Contamination in the Antarctic: A Review
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Lichen and moss are excellent biomonitors of atmospheric heavy metal pollution as they aregeographically diverse, have no waxy cuticles to control intake of nutrients/metals, can accumulatepollutants to levels that far exceed their need without dying, and make up the dominant portion ofterrestrial flora in ice free areas of Antarctica.Studies on this subject are generally restricted to areas of highest anthropogenic activity around KingGeorge Island at the Antarctic Peninsula, although determining the 'baseline' concentrations ofheavy metals in mosses and lichens far away from human activity is essential to understanding thecontinued impact we have on the environment. Generally, heavy metal concentrations increase asdistance to nearest research station decrease, due in part to the large dependence on fossil fuelcombustion for transportation and electricity, but also due to the fact that stations are clusterednear the coast and on ice free ground, allowing for influence from marine and substrate derivedheavy metals.Values obtained from these or any studies are not directly comparable without first establishing theappropriate correlation factor between the species used, as each species accumulates heavy metalsto a varying degree, dependant on thallus volume proportions, surface roughness and morphology.
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