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Abstract Detail

Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

Leavitt, Steven [1], St. Clair, Larry [2].

Great Air in the Great Basin? Using Elemental Accumulation Patterns in Lichens to Assess Air Quality.

Altitudinal, geological, and climatic variation create diverse habitats supporting distinct and varied lichen communities throughout the Intermountain West, and these lichen communities can play a vital role in monitoring ecological health. Coupled with floristic inventories, assessing spatial and temporal patterns of accumulation of potential atmospheric pollutants in sensitive indicator lichens can aid in identifying areas impacted by poor air quality. As part of a long-term bio-monitoring program, we have established over 400 reference sites, including more than fifty sites distributed across the Great Basin region. While the majority of reference sites in the Great Basin are situated in remote, apparently pristine wilderness areas, others are located in close proximity to heavily urbanized areas (e.g., the Wasatch Front, Utah, and the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, Nevada). Here we report on lichen diversity in the Great Basin and patterns of elemental accumulation based on analysis of sensitive indicator species for 20+ potential pollutant elements (including percent nitrogen). We also compare elemental accumulation patterns in two lichens commonly used as sensitive indicators species in the Great Basin, Rhizoplaca melanophthalma and Xanthomendoza montana. Our hope is that this elemental analysis data will provide insights into how various land-use strategies (e.g., mining, forestry, energy development and processing, urbanization, etc.) are impacting biological communities in the Great Basin.

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1 - The Field Museum, Integrative Research Center, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL, 60602, USA
2 - Brigham Young University, Biology, 2103c MLBM , Provo, UT, 84602, USA

elemental analysis
Rhizoplaca melanophthalma
Xanthomendoza montana.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 38
Location: Salon 8/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM
Number: 38003
Abstract ID:861
Candidate for Awards:None

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