Dr. Joseph Staples
Many species of lichen have the ability to acquire nutrients from the atmosphere and to accumulate aerosolized particulates and atmospheric pollutants into their tissues. Studies have found that lichen exhibit species-specific tolerances for pollutants and can have large ranges, making them excellent tools for long-term monitoring of air quality in-situ. In this research, we present preliminary findings for elemental concentrations and lichen diversity between edge and interior sections of a small urban woodlot located in Portland, Maine.
Comparisons of species richness and diversity of lichen growing on mature red maple (Acer rubrum) showed little difference between edge and interior sites. However, elemental analysis of common green shield lichen (Flavoparmelia caperata) collected from mature Red Oak (Quercus rubra) revealed differences in strontium and calcium levels between edge and interior samples. Although these results are preliminary in nature, this data will help lay the foundation for future research using lichen species to assess long-term habitat health and environmental changes.
Hutchinson, Ericka and Deshaies, Jade, "A look at Lichen Elemental Concentrations and Lichen Diversity from Edge to Interior in Canco Woods" (2017). Thinking Matters Symposium Archive. 61.