Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-dc8c957cd-nh2gz Total loading time: 0.254 Render date: 2022-01-29T02:12:18.429Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

15 - Lichen sensitivity to air pollution

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2012

T. H. Nash
Affiliation:
School of Life Sciences Arizona State University Box 874501 Tempe AZ 85287-4501 USA
Thomas H. Nash, III
Affiliation:
Arizona State University
Get access

Summary

Lichens have been recognized as being very sensitive to air pollution for many years (Hawksworth 1971; Nimis et al. 2002). In the 1800s independent observations in England, Munich, and Paris documented that lichens were already disappearing from urban areas. By the early 1900s this “city” effect was a widely recognized phenomenon in Europe and was first attributed to coal dust, which was emitted by most homes as well as many industries. Only later did the colorless gas, sulfur dioxide, become recognized as a principal phytotoxic agent. Today the list of air pollutants is much longer and includes oxidants, hydrogen fluoride, some metals (Section 12.7), acid rain, and organics. Certainly the list of potentially toxic substances is not yet fully circumscribed.

The high sensitivity of lichens is related to their biology. Most species live for decades or hundreds of years and a few longer; thus, as perennials, they are subject to the cumulative effect of pollutants. Lichens have no vascular system for conducting water or nutrients; as a consequence, they have developed efficient mechanisms for taking up water and nutrients from atmospheric sources. Fog and dew, major water sources for lichens, often have much higher pollutant concentrations than precipitation, and the lichens' nutrient concentration mechanisms also will concentrate pollutants. Unlike many vascular plants, lichens have no deciduous parts, and hence cannot avoid pollutant exposure by shedding such parts.

Type
Chapter
Information
Lichen Biology , pp. 299 - 314
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
10
Cited by

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×