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Response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia air concentrations in a moderately polluted area of The Netherlands

Authors:
  • FLORON Plant Conservation Netherlands

Abstract

Decreasing local ammonia air concentrations in a moderately polluted area in The Netherlands were accompanied by a rapid increase in nitrogen-sensitive species (acidophytes) and a decline of nitrogen-tolerant macrolichens (nitrophytes). This paper presents data on the relationship between nitrophyte abundance and species abundance for three ecological groups of epiphytic lichens: nitrophytes (positively correlated with ammonia), acidophytes (negatively correlated) and neutrophytes (which have an optimum at medium concentrations) and suggests ammonia dependent optimum curves for these groups. In this study neutrophytes were found to die-off massively at sites with a decrease of the ammonia air concentration over the period 1996-2003.
Response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia
air concentrations in a moderately polluted area of The Netherlands
Laurens B. Sparrius*
BIO DIV, Vrijheidslaan 27, NL-2806 KE Gouda, The Netherlands
Received 15 October 2005; accepted 10 March 2006
Lichens can be used to detect both increasing and decreasing ammonia air concentrations.
Abstract
Decreasing local ammonia air concentrations in a moderately polluted area in The Netherlands were accompanied by a rapid increase in
nitrogen-sensitive species (acidophytes) and a decline of nitrogen-tolerant macrolichens (nitrophytes). This paper presents data on the relation-
ship between nitrophyte abundance and species abundance for three ecological groups of epiphytic lichens: nitrophytes (positively correlated
with ammonia), acidophytes (negatively correlated) and neutrophytes (which have an optimum at medium concentrations) and suggests ammo-
nia dependent optimum curves for these groups. In this study neutrophytes were found to die-off massively at sites with a decrease of the am-
monia air concentration over the period 1996e2003.
Ó2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Air pollution; Biomonitoring; Cattle breeding; Lichen ecology
1. Introduction
The composition of epiphytic lichen communities has been
used to detect the effects of SO
2
for a long time (e.g. Barkman,
1952; de Wit, 1976; Seaward and Coppins, 2004), and more
recently the effects of ammonia (van Dobben and ter Braak,
1998; van Herk, 2001;van Herk et al., 2003b) and of climate
change (van Herk et al., 2003a). Epiphytic lichen communities
consist of poikilohydric, auto- (photobiont) and heterotrophic
(fungi) organisms. The growth rate of lichens, like most other
heterotrophic organisms, is affected by humidity, light, sub-
strate pH, nutrient-availability and temperature.
This paper presents data on changes in epiphytic lichen
communities over time in response to ammonia, the main
source of nitrogen in the study area. Figures in this paper
are based on a lichen monitoring programme in the province
of Friesland in The Netherlands. Epiphytic lichen monitoring
programs for detecting ammonia pollution have existed in the
Netherlands since 1989, in some parts of the country being
a follow-up to an SO
2
monitoring programme using the
same methods as established in 1975 (van Herk, 2001). In
the period 1989e1998, the results showed a steady increase
in nitrophytic lichens, although other surveys, based on in
situ measurements of ammonia found a levelling or slight de-
crease in ammonia air concentration and net-deposition of
nitrogen, including NO
2
.
1.1. Evidence of effects of NO
x
on lichens
van Dobben and ter Braak (1998) found that NO
2
, predom-
inantly released by traffic, was the second-most important fac-
tor explaining the distribution of lichen species apart from
SO
2
. However, Cape et al. (2004) found that NO
2
contributes
only 10% to the excess nitrogen and acidity deposition com-
pared to NH
3
at equal air concentrations. In The Netherlands,
NO
2
has always been a minor source of nitrogen compared to
NH
3
, especially in the study areas described by van Herk
* Tel.: þ31 182 538761; fax: þ31 847 102963.
E-mail address: sparrius@biodiv.nl
0269-7491/$ - see front matter Ó2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2006.03.045
Environmental Pollution 146 (2007) 375e379
www.elsevier.com/locate/envpol
(2001) and in this paper. NO
2
however, showed about the same
spatial distribution as SO
2
, so that after SO
2
levels had fallen,
the distribution of slowly recolonizing speciesdand especially
the number of species per sitedmay correspond well to the
NO
2
distribution. NO
2
could probably acidify phorophytes
only when present in very high concentrations: e.g. Krupa
(2003) describes the atmospheric process of NO
2
being con-
verted into HONO, an acid, which could be absorbed by
bark. The possibility that increased nitrogen content, caused
by NO
2
and NH
3
, influences the lichen vegetation was already
demonstrated by van Dobben and ter Braak (1998).
1.2. Ammonia effects on bark pH
All authors agree that bark pH is the only factor that has in-
creased in response to decreasing SO
2
levels, thus causing an
increase in nitrophytic lichen species (van Dobben and ter
Braak, 1998). Dust may also cause an increase in bark pH
(see e.g. Kricke and Loppi, 2002). Ammonia changes the pH
of the bark and outer lichen surface in wet periods, i.e.
when photosynthesis and growth are active. Furthermore,
decreasing SO
2
reduces the formation of NH
4
þ
aerosol from
ambient NH
3
so that the NH
3
air concentration is increased
(e.g. Sutton et al., 2003). However, this is a generic increase.
More important is that gaseous NH
3
(not NH
4
þ
) can de-acidify
the bark further when absorbed by bark (dry deposition). This
occurs especially within 2 or 3 km from sources, mainly cattle
breeding farms (van Herk, 2001). This, often strong, pH effect
of ammonia seems to be especially suitable for monitoring
and the principle is now widely used in so called passive
diffusion tubes, which use sulphuric acid to absorb ambient
ammonia (e.g. Kirchner et al., 1999). The correlation between
ammonia concentrations and the abundance of nitrophytic
species (species favouring increased bark pH) has been proven
under field conditions by van Herk (2001) and with physio-
logical experiments by Gaio-Oliveira et al. (2004). Only
the additional hypothesis that ammonia may directly affect
bark pH can explain a decrease in nitrophytes when the ammo-
nia air concentration is reduced. This phenomenon was
observed for the first time in 2004 in Southeast Friesland,
where the local government and farmers successfully co-
operated from 1998 onwards, reducing nitrogen emissions
by ca. 30%.
2. Study area
The present study has been carried out in the province of
Friesland in the northern part of the Netherlands (Fig. 1). Sul-
phur dioxide air concentrations in Friesland have always been
low (less than 25 mgm
3
), and less than 5 mgm
3
during the
last decade, below the no-effect level for lichens. In this situ-
ation it is hardly surprising that the highest species diversity of
epiphytic lichens of the entire country occurs in the study area,
and includes many slow dispersers which require ecological
stability over a long time period. Year-averaged ammonia
levels vary between 5 and 15 mgm
3
(TNO, 2003). Levels
above 3 mgm
3
have already been shown to have significant
effects on sensitive lichen species (van Herk et al., 2003b).
3. Materials and methods
Lichen data were taken from 241 permanent monitoring stations, each con-
sisting of ten wayside Quercus robur trees, sampled in 1996 (van Herk, 1997)
and 2003 (Sparrius, 2004). The field methods and selection of nitrophytic and
acidophytic lichen species and their indication values used here are extensively
Fig. 1. The study area in The Netherlands (right) and the location of the 241 monitoring stations (black dots in a grid of 5 5 km). The Southeast Friesland area is
stroked.
376 L.B. Sparrius / Environmental Pollution 146 (2007) 375e379
described by van Herk et al (2003b).NH
3
concentrations have been obtained
in Southeast Friesland using passive diffusion tubes that were replaced and an-
alyzed monthly during one year (TNO, 2003). Year-averaged values are used
to eliminate seasonal and climatic factors. Statistical analyses have been car-
ried out using SPSS 11.5 and Microsoft Office Access/Excel 2003.
4. Results
4.1. Ammonia and nitrophyte abundance
A high correlation emerges between ammonia air concen-
tration and the indicator value for nitrophytic lichen abun-
dance NIW (Fig. 2).
4.2. Changes in nitrophyte abundance
From 1990 to 1996, ammonia air concentration in the study
area was fairly high and slightly increased due to intensive cat-
tle breeding. NH
3
has fallen after 1996 following a strict gov-
ernmental emission-reducing policy, especially in Southeast
Friesland. During the first half of the 1990s, nitrophytic
lichens strongly increased in abundance. In 2003, a decline
was observed in both nitrophyte abundance and ammonia air
concentrations. The results are presented in Table 1.
4.3. Neutrophytes
Table 2 shows the species that changed most in abundance.
Surprisingly, lichens that are generally considered as being
indifferent to air pollution, such as species of Parmelia,Melane-
lia and Ramalina, also declined. The average number of species
per monitoring station decreased slightly from 24.7 in 1996 to
24.4 in 2003. In the field, numerous dead thalli were observed
in such places, pale or black-coloured depending on the stage
of decay.
4.4. Nitrophytes, acidophytes and neutrophytes
Fig. 3 shows the relationship between the abundance of 12
selected lichen species in Southeast Friesland and the NIW
class. Candelariella reflexa,Physcia adscendens and two
Xanthoria spp. are nitrophytes and contribute to the NIW.
Melanelia exasperatula and Candelaria concolor also behave
as nitrophytes. Cladonia chlorophaea,Evernia prunastri and
Lepraria incana are acidophytes and show a inverted relation-
ship. The other speciesdneutrophytesdshow an optimum
curve, suggesting that oak tree bark is too acid or too poor
in nutrients for them, and that they require some ammonia
to be able to grow there. This explains why neutrophytes de-
creased in the study area, especially at sites where the nitro-
phyte abundance and NH
3
was already low. Fig. 4 shows
this new hypothesis in a schematic way.
4.5. Changes in response to decreasing ammonia
Fig. 5 shows the relationship between nitrophyte abundance
in 1996, the changes in later years, and the change in
Fig. 2. Measurements of NH
3
and indicator values in Southeast Friesland in
1996 (squares, continuous line) and 2003 (circles, dashed line). Each point
represents the average value of c. 5 monitoring sites within a map grid square
of 5 5 km. Calculated regression line: 1996: NIW ¼0.3842[NH
3
]0.7916
(p¼0.004); 2003: NIW ¼0.4204[NH
3
]1.2196 ( p¼0.046).
Table 1
Nitrophytic lichen abundance (NIW) and NH
3
concentrations (in mgm
3
)in
the study area in 1996 and 2003
Area Indicator 1996 2003
Northeast Friesland (n¼91) NIW 3.1 2.8
NH
3
n/a n/a
Southeast Friesland (n¼142) NIW 3.4 2.8
NH
3
9.7 6.6
Total area (n¼241) NIW 3.2 2.8
NH
3
n/a n/a
All changes are highly significant in a Wilcoxon matched pairs test
(p<0.0001).
Table 2
The 11 most declined lichen species
Sites Difference z p Ecology
Species that decreased
Xanthoria polycarpa 226 218 8350 <0.00001 n
Melanelia subaurifera 211 201 6954 <0.00001 i
Physcia tenella 222 171 7445 <0.00001 n
Parmelia sulcata 221 171 7415 <0.00001 i
Evernia prunastri 180 160 6165 <0.00001 a
Punctelia subrudecta s.l. 140 146 6448 <0.00001 i
Pleurosticta acetabulum 107 121 6376 <0.00001 i
Ramalina fastigiata 147 119 4939 <0.00001 i
Hypogymnia physodes 53 107 5872 <0.00001 a
Xanthoria candelaria 191 98 3968 <0.0001 n
Ramalina farinacea 205 95 4584 <0.00001 i
Species that increased
Candelariella reflexa 128 þ163 7034 <0.00001 n
Lecidella elaeochroma 212 þ118 5964 <0.00001 n
Xanthoria parietina 218 þ98 4554 <0.00001 n
Candelariella vitellina 156 þ81 3836 <0.0001 n
Pyrrhospora quernea 119 þ76 4454 <0.00001 i
Arthonia spadicea 27 þ69 4415 <0.00001 i
Opegrapha niveoatra 32 þ68 4483 <0.00001 i
Candelaria concolor 69 þ65 3833 <0.0001 n
Lepraria incana 202 þ54 3660 <0.0001 a
Lecanora chlarotera 224 þ54 3746 <0.0001 i
Cladonia chlorophaea 80 þ41 3303 <0.001 a
Sites, number of sites where a species occurred in 1996 and/or 2003; differ-
ence, the difference in the sum of abundances in all sites between 1996 and
2003; z, z-value according to a Wilcoxon matched pairs test; p, significance
level. Ecology: a, acidophyte; n, nitrophyte; i, neutrophyte.
377L.B. Sparrius / Environmental Pollution 146 (2007) 375e379
neutrophytes; neutrophytes mainly decreased in areas where
nitrophyte abundance decreased. The greatest decline can be
observed in areas where nitrophyte abundance is already low
and decreasing. This corresponds with the optimum curves
in Fig. 4: a decrease in abundance for both groups is only cor-
related in the left part of the curve. Likewise, the greatest in-
crease of neutrophytes is observed in areas where the
nitrophyte abundance was previously low, but increased.
The optimum curves also show that especially acidophilous
epiphytic lichen communities (epiphytes favouring acid bark)
are very susceptible to ammonia. Despite a lowering of ammo-
nia air concentration levels, they are still too high for many
acidophytes so that even two common acidophytes, Evernia
prunastri and Hypogymnia physodes, are among the 12 most
Fig. 3. Relationship between nitrophyte abundance (NIW, x-axis) and relative species abundance ( y-axis) in Southeast Friesland (average abundance per site per
NIW class) for selected species in 241 sites. The maximum possible abundance per site is 6. Acidophytes (a) have an optimum at 0 or 1, neutrophytes (i) at 2or3,
and nitrophytes (n) at 5.
Fig. 4. Optimum curves for three ecological groups of epiphytic lichens on
acid bark influenced by ammonia as deducted from Fig. 3. The area between
the vertical lines can be observed in the field.
Fig. 5. Neutrophytes and the difference of the nitrophyte abundance (NIW) in
1996 and 2001 as a function of the NIW in 1996. Positive y-axis values rep-
resent an increase in nitrophytes. The dot size is the difference in neutrophyte
abundance. Solid dots are positive values. White dots are negative values. The
smallest dots represent values around zero.
378 L.B. Sparrius / Environmental Pollution 146 (2007) 375e379
rapidly declining lichens in Table 2. On the other hand,
two less-sensitive acidophytes, Cladonia chlorophaea and
Lepraria incana, strongly increased over the same period,
and appeared in sites with less NH
3
in 2003.
5. Conclusions
There is a strong relationship between ammonia air con-
centration and nitrophytic lichens.
For the first time, it was observed that a decrease in nitro-
phytic lichens was related to a fall in the ammonia air
concentration.
Neutrophytes, i.e. many large macrolichens, show optimum
relationships with ammonia on acid-barked trees. This im-
plies that in statistical analyses, linear methods, such as lin-
ear regression, RDA and CCA will never yield significant
results for neutrophytes or total epiphyte diversity per site.
Declining lichen vegetation in an ameliorating environment
as described above may sound paradoxical. However, this
study of epiphytic communities on acid, nutrient-poor barked
trees, with abundant acidophytes and few nitrophytes suggests
that some ammonia pollution provides a more favourable en-
vironment than one with natural background concentrations.
In this case, we must accept a decline in ‘artificial’ lichen di-
versity to obtain a healthy environment in habitats sensitive to
both acidification and eutrophication, such as heathlands and
forests on acid soils, in order to protect sensitive acidophytic
lichen species such as Bryoria fuscescens,Evernia prunastri,
Hypogymnia physodes and Platismatia glauca. These species
are rapidly disappearing from the countryside in Europe and
retreating to refuges inside forests and even suburbs away
from ammonia sources.
Acknowledgements
I wish to thank C.M. van Herk (LON), Dr A. Aptroot
(CBS), J.L. Spier and N. Schotsman (Province of Friesland)
for the interesting discussions on this topic. Pat Wolseley
(NHM) for making textual corrections. The data set used
here has been collected on behalf of, and with financial sup-
port of, the Province of Friesland. Ammonia air concentration
data were provided by Dr J. Duyzer (TNO).
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379L.B. Sparrius / Environmental Pollution 146 (2007) 375e379
... Lichens respond to N pollution gradient both through community dynamics, and physiological parameters. Sparrius (2007) analyzed the response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia air concentration from 1996 to 2003 in a moderately polluted area in the Netherlands. The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). ...
... Sparrius (2007) analyzed the response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia air concentration from 1996 to 2003 in a moderately polluted area in the Netherlands. The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). The study recorded an overall decrease in the lichen diversity of the study area, due to the decline of N-tolerant lichens, it also recorded an increase in acidophytic lichen species such as Bryoria fuscescens, Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, and Platismatia glauca, the native lichen flora of relatively low polluted environments (Sparrius, 2007). ...
... The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). The study recorded an overall decrease in the lichen diversity of the study area, due to the decline of N-tolerant lichens, it also recorded an increase in acidophytic lichen species such as Bryoria fuscescens, Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, and Platismatia glauca, the native lichen flora of relatively low polluted environments (Sparrius, 2007). Hauck et al. (2013) assessed the decline in the epiphytic lichen diversity during 150 years in the submontane and uplands broad-leaved forests of north-western Germany. ...
Book
Relationship Between Microbes and Environment for Sustainable Ecosystem Services, Volume One: Microbial Products for Sustainable Ecosystem Services promotes advances in sustainable solutions, value-added products, and fundamental research in microbes and the environment. Topics include advanced and recent discoveries in the use of microbes for sustainable development. Users will find reference information ranging from the description of various microbial applications for sustainability in different aspects of food, energy, the environment and social development. Volume One includes the direct and indirect role of bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, viruses, mycoplasma and protozoans in the development of products contributing towards sustainable. The book provides a holistic approach to the most recent advances in the application of various microbes as a biotechnological tool for a vast range of sustainable applications, modern practices, exploring futuristic strategies to harness its full potential.
... Lichens respond to N pollution gradient both through community dynamics, and physiological parameters. Sparrius (2007) analyzed the response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia air concentration from 1996 to 2003 in a moderately polluted area in the Netherlands. The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). ...
... Sparrius (2007) analyzed the response of epiphytic lichen communities to decreasing ammonia air concentration from 1996 to 2003 in a moderately polluted area in the Netherlands. The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). The study recorded an overall decrease in the lichen diversity of the study area, due to the decline of N-tolerant lichens, it also recorded an increase in acidophytic lichen species such as Bryoria fuscescens, Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, and Platismatia glauca, the native lichen flora of relatively low polluted environments (Sparrius, 2007). ...
... The study found an increase in nitrogen-sensitive species and a decline in the nitrogen-tolerant lichen species (Sparrius, 2007). The study recorded an overall decrease in the lichen diversity of the study area, due to the decline of N-tolerant lichens, it also recorded an increase in acidophytic lichen species such as Bryoria fuscescens, Evernia prunastri, Hypogymnia physodes, and Platismatia glauca, the native lichen flora of relatively low polluted environments (Sparrius, 2007). Hauck et al. (2013) assessed the decline in the epiphytic lichen diversity during 150 years in the submontane and uplands broad-leaved forests of north-western Germany. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Nitrogen pollution is one of the most critical factors which has become a threat to the subsistence of life on earth. The increasing use of nitrogen fertilizers had made technological interventions of little use in its mitigation. Biomonitors such as lichens can be a sustainable tool for accessing the effects of nitrogen eutrophication of the ambient environment at very early stages. Lichens can tolerate higher concentrations of nitrogen through metabolic adaptations and community change dynamics. The higher nitrogen deposition of nitrogen in the ambient environment is reflected in the change of lichen community composition, ecophysiology, change in stable nitrogen isotope ratio, and biochemistry. The changes induced in lichens against nitrogen pollution are being used for bioindicator and/ or biomonitoring purposes worldwide. The nitrogen bioaccumulation in lichens has also helped assess the critical nitrogen loads for native vegetation and in the habitats with dominant growth, also act as a sink for deposited nitrogen. The current chapter hereby reviews the normal assimilation of nitrogen in lichens, the mechanisms of excessive nitrogen tolerance, the effect on the fauna dependent on them as food, and the various parameters that make them one of the most appropriate indicators of excessive ambient air nitrogen deposition worldwide.
... areas enriched in NO x and NH 3 , showing less sensitivity to high nitrogen compounds than acidophytic lichens. 4,22,[31][32][33] It is found ubiquitously across urban environments, as well as in proximity to domestic livestock, due to increased atmospheric nitrogen concentrations in such areas. 31,34,35 Consequently, X. parietina is ideally suited for development and application of a lichen nitrate and ammonium extraction method, across both urban and rural settings. ...
... 4,22,[31][32][33] It is found ubiquitously across urban environments, as well as in proximity to domestic livestock, due to increased atmospheric nitrogen concentrations in such areas. 31,34,35 Consequently, X. parietina is ideally suited for development and application of a lichen nitrate and ammonium extraction method, across both urban and rural settings. ...
Article
Nitrogen speciation, i.e. distinguishing nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4+), is commonly undertaken in soil studies, but has not been conducted extensively for lichens. Lichen total nitrogen contents (N wt%) reflect airborne atmospheric nitrogen loadings, originating from anthropogenic sources (e.g. vehicular and agricultural/livestock emissions). Albeit nitrogen being an essential lichen nutrient, nitrogen compound (i.e. NO3- and NH4+) concentrations in the atmosphere can have deleterious effects on lichens. Moreover, N wt% do not provide information on individual nitrogen compounds, i.e. NO3- and NH4+ which are major constituents of atmospheric particulate matter (e.g. PM10 and PM2.5). This study presents a novel method to separate and quantify NO3- and NH4+ extracted from lichen material. An optimal approach was identified by testing different strengths and volumes of potassium chloride (KCl) solutions and variable extraction times, i.e. the use of 3% KCl for 6 hours can achieve a same-day extraction and subsequent ion chromatography (IC) analysis for reproducible lichen nitrate and ammonium concentration determinations. Application of the method was undertaken by comparing urban and rural Xanthoria parietina samples to investigate the relative importance of the two nitrogen compounds in contrasting environments. Findings presented showed that lichen nitrogen compound concentrations varied in rural and urban X. parietina samples, suggesting different atmospheric nitrogen loadings from potentially different sources (e.g. agricultural and traffic) and varied deposition patterns (e.g. urban layout impacts). Despite potential impacts of nitrogen compounds on lichen metabolism, the approach presented here can be used for quantification of two different nitrogen compounds in lichen biomonitoring studies that will provide specific information on spatial and temporal variability of airborne NO3- and NH4+ concentrations that act as precursors of particulate matter, affecting air quality and subsequently human health.
... Лишајеви се могу користити као биоиндикатори квалитета урбаних средина, најчешће на садржај сумпор-диоксида и тешких метала. Веома добро подносе концентрацију сумпор-диоксида до 70 µg/m 3 [445][446][447][448] (слика 69). ...
... У Италији су рађене биомониторинг студије процјене загађења ваздуха праћењем диверзитета лишајева у Ђенови, Трсту и Напуљу [445,446]. У Холандији је праћена концентрација амонијака у ткиву епифитних лишајева [447], док је у Бразилу, у близини индустријског и петрохемијског комплекса, проучавана концентрација баријума (Ba) и манганa (Mn) код епифитног лишаја Canoparmelia texana [448]. У Италији је утврђено да је врста Flavoparmelia caperata добар индикатора загађења ваздуха, са аспекта присуства тешких метала [454]. ...
... These CLs (1.5 kg N ha −1 y −1 and 2.7 kg S ha −1 y −1 ) prevent pollution-driven shifts in community composition of epiphytic macrolichens and were applicable under all current climate regimes. Above these deposition levels, community composition increasingly favored the presence of tolerant species over sensitive ones, a response long-recognized in lichen-N studies [20][21][22]. ...
... This metric lacks the nuance and responsiveness of functional group or community composition analysis. Ecologically valuable species may initially be replaced by less valuable species without changing total diversity, particularly in the case of nutrient N [20,22] Matrix lichens, with large numbers of tolerant species, dominate total species richness (54% in the West, 76% in the east), diluting the responsiveness of the metric. Nevertheless, measures of total diversity have value as a gauge of conservation success [97]. ...
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Critical loads of atmospheric deposition help decision-makers identify levels of air pollution harmful to ecosystem components. But when critical loads are exceeded, how can the accompanying ecological risk be quantified? We use a 90% quantile regression to model relationships between nitrogen and sulfur deposition and epiphytic macrolichens, focusing on responses of concern to managers of US forests: Species richness and abundance and diversity of functional groups with integral ecological roles. Analyses utilized national-scale lichen survey data, sensitivity ratings, and modeled deposition and climate data. We propose 20, 50, and 80% declines in these responses as cut-offs for low, moderate, and high ecological risk from deposition. Critical loads (low risk cut-off) for total species richness, sensitive species richness, forage lichen abundance and cyanolichen abundance, respectively, were 3.5, 3.1, 1.9, and 1.3 kg N and 6.0, 2.5, 2.6, and 2.3 kg S ha−1 yr−1. High environmental risk (80% decline), excluding total species richness, occurred at 14.8, 10.4, and 6.6 kg N and 14.1, 13, and 11 kg S ha−1 yr−1. These risks were further characterized in relation to geography, species of conservation concern, number of species affected, recovery timeframes, climate, and effects on interdependent biota, nutrient cycling, and ecosystem services.
... Road traffic and energy production also contribute to the eutrophication of rural areas (Pescott et al. 2015). Strong eutrophication of the habitat is frequently accompanied by a rapid increase in species preferring nitrogen enriched substrate and a decrease in nitrogen-sensitive lichens (Sparrius 2007). Data on the occurrence and abundance of nitrophytes may be helpful in identifying local hot spots of eutrophication in the environment (Ruisi et al. 2005). ...
Article
Kubiak, D. & Osyczka, P. 2019. Tree avenues as reservoir for epiphytic lichens in deforested landscapes. – Herzogia 32: 398 – 420.Old tree avenues are a disappearing traditional element in European landscapes. Roadside trees constitute an important habitat for many groups of organisms and support the maintenance of biodiversity in deforested areas, but they are often neglected in conservation strategies. This study describes and analyses the conservation value of planted trees along rural roads in NE Poland for epiphytic lichens. A total of 105 trunks of seven deciduous tree species were examined. Lichen species inventories were assembled for trunks at a height up to two meters from the ground. A total of 99 lichen species was recorded. Lichen species richness and cover were dependent primarily on tree species. Diameter of trees was not significantly correlated with the number of species. Ulmus laevis and, to a lesser extent, Fraxinus excelsior and Acer platanoides, were be the most valuable tree species in terms of lichen species richness. Quercus robur as a roadside tree did not have above-average species numbers. Lichen species with a preference for eutrophicated or alkaline bark occurred in their largest numbers on Populus nigra agg. Betula pendula hosted the largest number of species avoiding eutrophication. Each tree species had its own set of exclusive lichens and hosted taxa which are red-listed in Poland; however, no single tree species alone guarantees preservation of the entire range of epiphytic lichens on roadside trees in the study area. Since tree avenues, especially those composed of multiple species, provide a suitable habitat for various rare and endangered lichens, potentially high conservation value should always be attributed to this element of local landscapes in low pollution areas.
Article
The dominant chemical form of nitrogen pollution in the atmosphere in the U.S. is shifting from oxidized nitrogen, primarily from combustion of fossil fuels, to reduced nitrogen from agricultural animal waste and fertilizer applications. Does it matter to lichens? In this synthesis, we characterize U.S. air concentrations of the most ubiquitous gaseous forms of reduced and oxidized nitrogen, NO2 and NH3, respectively, and their direct effects on lichens. In the U.S., the 3-year average (2017–2019) of the annual mean for each monitoring site ranges up to 56.4 μg NO2 m−3 (∼30 ppb) and 6 μg NH3 m−3 (∼9 ppb). The spatial coverage of current routine monitoring of NO2 and NH3 likely does not accurately represent exposures of NO2 to ecosystems in rural areas or capture spikes of NH3 concentrations proximal to intensive agriculture, which are documented to exceed 700 μg NH3 m−3 (∼1000 ppb) for short durations. Both NO2 and NH3 can act as nutrients to lichens, but as exposures rise, both can cause physiological stress and mortality that then change community composition and diversity. There is a growing body of evidence that lichen community composition is altered at current levels of exposure in the U.S. with estimated no effect or lowest effect concentrations from <1 to 3 μg m−3 NO2 and <1 μg m−3 NH3. Better spatial characterization of both NO2 and NH3 concentrations, especially near intensive agriculture, would help to characterize the extent of the impacts across the U.S. These findings are discussed in the context of U.S. air pollution policy.
Article
Although awareness that air pollution can damage vegetation dates back at least to the 1600s, the processes and mechanisms of damage were not rigorously studied until the late twentieth century. In the UK following the Industrial Revolution, urban air quality became very poor, with highly phytotoxic SO 2 and NO 2 concentrations, and remained that way until the mid-twentieth century. Since then both air quality, and our understanding of pollutants and their impacts, have greatly improved. Air pollutants remain a threat to natural and managed ecosystems. Air pollution imparts impacts through four major threats to vegetation are discussed through in a series of case studies. Gas-phase effects by the primary emissions of SO 2 and NO 2 are discussed in the context of impacts on lichens in urban areas. The effects of wet and dry deposited acidity from sulfur and nitrogen compounds are considered with a particular focus on forest decline. Ecosystem eutrophication by nitrogen deposition focuses on heathland decline in the Netherlands, and ground-level ozone at phytotoxic concentrations is discussed by considering impacts on semi-natural vegetation. We find that, although air is getting cleaner, there is much room for additional improvement, especially for the effects of eutrophication on managed and natural ecosystems. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Air quality, past present and future’.
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Впервые выполнена картографическая оценка состояния атмосферного воздуха г. Калининграда с применением методов лихеноиндикации; выявлен видовой состав эпифитных лишайников Калининграда и произведен комплексный анализ влияния загрязнения воздуха эвтрофицирующими соединениями на видовое разнообразие и физиолого-биохимические характеристики лишайников; разработана авторская методика оценки загрязнения атмосферного воздуха эвтрофицирующими веществами с использованием в качестве тест-системы содержание хлорофилла а в талломе Parmelia sulcata. Результаты могут быть использованы для разработки программы долговременного геоэкологического мониторинга состояния атмосферного воздуха г. Калининграда.
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[pp. 31, 5 tables, 6 figures, 41 distribution maps, 9 appendices]
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The epiphytic lichen flora of 25 European ICP-IM monitoring sites, all situated in areas remote from air pollution sources, was statistically related to measured levels of SO2 in air, NH4+, NO3− and SO42− in precipitation, annual bulk precipitation, and annual average temperature. Significant regression models were calculated for eleven acidophytic species. Several species show a strong negative correlation with nitrogen compounds. At concentrations as low as 0·3 mg N l−1 in precipitation, a decrease of the probability of occurrence is observed for Bryoria capillaris, B. fuscescens, Cetraria pinastri, Imshaugia aleurites and Usnea hirta. The observed pattern of correlations strongly suggests a key role of NH4+ in determining the species occurrence, but an additional role of NO3− cannot be ruled out. Some species show a distinct response to current levels of SO2 as well. It may be concluded that long distance nitrogen air pollution has strong influence on the occurrence of acidophytic lichen species.
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There is evidence to suggest that part of the recent changes in the lichen flora of the Netherlands is attributable to an increase in temperature. Changes which have occurred over the last 22 years were studied in detail, and were subjected to a statistical treatment by comparing the change of species to their latitudinal distribution and to ecological determinants.All 329 epiphytic and terrestrial lichen species occurring in the Netherlands were considered in relation to their world distribution. Arctic-alpine/boreo-montane species appear to be declining, while (sub)tropical species are invading. The proportion of increasing species is by far the largest among the wide-tropical lichens (83%), and smallest among the arctic-alpine/boreo-montane lichens (14%). None of the wide-tropical species was found to decrease, while 50% of the arctic-alpine/boreomontane species show a decline. Long-term monitoring of the epiphytic lichen flora in the province of Utrecht from 1979 onwards shows that the total number of taxa present increased from 95 in 1979 to 172 in 2001, while the average number of taxa per site increased from 7·5 to 18·9. The rate of increase was greatest by far between 1989 and 1995. The majority of the species (152 taxa or 85%) show a gross increase, only 17 species (10%) show a decrease. A detailed analysis of these data using multiple regression suggests global warming as an additional cause for recent changes, next to decreasing SO2 and increasing NH3. Changes appear to be correlated initially (1979-1995) only with toxitolerance and nutrient demand. Changes between 1995 and 2001, however, appear positively correlated to both temperature and nutrient demand, indicating a recent and significant shift towards species preferring warm circumstances, independent from, and concurrent with changes due to nutrient availability.This is the first paper reporting long-term floristic changes for lichens that appear to be correlated significantly with increasing temperatures. We suggest that future lichen monitoring programmes also pay attention to effects of climatic change, instead of focusing on air pollution effects only.
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1 fig. [Correction of figure from article in Lichenologist 35(4): 347-359 (2003).]
Chapter
The symbiosis between algae and fungi enables lichens to colonise various apparently hostile places, like high mountains and deserts. However, the sensitive balance between the symbiotic partners can be easily disturbed, as lichens are generally sensitive to environmental alteration such as changes in air humidity (forestry, urbanisation) and air pollution.
Article
The lichen monitoring programme included in the Dutch National Air Quality Survey was used to explore the utility of these organisms as indicators for atmospheric ammonia. Over the period 1977–1990 the “nitrophytic” species (assumed to occur optimally in N-rich habitats) strongly increased at the 150 monitoring stations of the network. Furthermore, a positive correlation was found between the occurrence of these species and local NH3 concentrations. Earlier reports therefore proposed the use of nitrophytic lichens as bioindicators for NH3 and considered their increase as an indication for increasing NH3 concentrations. However, a more careful statistical analysis of the available data shows a strong impact of decreasing SO2 levels on all epiphytic lichens, including the nitrophytic species. It is now clear that the “nitrophytic” species do respond to atmospheric NH3, but their response to SO2 is far stronger. Furthermore, chemical analysis of tree bark shows that nitrophytic lichen species do not respond directly to N levels, but are rather favoured by the high bark pH associated with high NH3 levels. Three mechanisms are presented to explain the strong response of the nitrophytic lichens to decreasing SO2 levels.
Article
The aim of this investigation was to determine the NH4Cl concentration threshold, above which negative physiological effects would occur in the nitrophytic lichen Xanthoria parietina. Over a 10 month period, X. parietina thalli growing on roof tiles were exposed weekly to NH4Cl concentrations of 0(.)04, 0(.)17, 0(.)34 or 0(.)69M. Nitrogen (N) uptake from ammonium and the concentrations of total thallus N and biont markers (chlorophyll a, ergosterol and chitin) were measured on four occasions, over the experimental period. Xanthoria parietina was able to assimilate a significant quantity of the applied ammonium. However, lichens exposed to the two higher concentrations suffered damage to both the photobiont and the mycobiont, as evidenced by reduced chlorophyll a and ergosterol concentrations, while lichens exposed to the two lower concentrations showed no significant changes in either chlorophyll a or ergosterol that could be related to the ammonium inputs. Xanthoria parietina tolerated a weekly irrigation of at least 0(.)17 M NH4Cl, corresponding to an N deposition of c. 1000 kg ha-(1) yr(-1) suggesting that this species has a very high tolerance to N pollution.