Macrolichens on Twigs and Trunks as Indicators of Ammonia Concentrations Across the UK — a Practical Method

  • Patricia A. Wolseley
  • Ian D. Leith
  • Netty van Dijk
  • Mark A. Sutton

Lichen community composition on acid-barked trees has been shown to respond to increasing atmospheric ammonia (NH3) concentrations by loss of acidophyte species and an increase in nitrophyte species. A simple method of sampling selected acidophyte and nitrophyte lichens on trunks and twigs of trees in the vicinity of ammonia monitoring sites across the UK allowed us to test the correlation of lichen communities with ammonia concentrations across the climatic and vegetation zones of the UK.

Sites were selected and field staff from the conservation and regulatory agencies introduced to standard lichen sampling and identification techniques at a workshop co-organised by NHM and CEH Edinburgh. LAN (Lichen Acidophyte Nitrophyte) values were calculated for all sites, based on the frequency of acidophyte and nitrophyte macrolichens on trunks and twigs. Bark samples from trunk and twig were collected and surface bark pH measured in the lab, to test the correlation of acidophyte and nitrophyte communities with bark pH.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Asta J.,Erhardt W., Ferretti M., Fornasier F., Kirschbaum U., Nimis P.L., Purvis O.W., Pirintsos, S. Scheidegger C., van Haluwyn C., Wirth V. (2002) Mapping lichen diversity as an indicator of environmental quality. In: Nimis P.L., Scheidegger C., Wolseley P.A. (eds.) Monitoring with Lichens — Monitoring Lichens. Nato Science Series. IV. Earth and Environmental Sciences, Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 273–279.Google Scholar
  2. Hawksworth D.L., McManus P.M. (1989) Lichen recolonization in London under conditions of rapidly falling sulphur dioxide levels, and the concept of zone skipping. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100(2): 99–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hawksworth D.L., Rose F. (1970) Qualitative scale for estimating sulphur dioxide air pollution in England and Wales using epiph ytic lichens. Nature 227: 145–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kermit T., Gauslaa Y. (2001) The vertical gradient of bark pH of twigs and macrolichens in a Picea abies canopy not affected by acid rain. Lichenologist 33: 353–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Leith I.D., van Dijk N., Pitcairn C.E.R., Wolseley P.A., Whitfield C.P., Sutton M.A. (2005) Biomonitoring methods for assessing the impacts of nitrogen pollution: refinement and testing. JNCC Report No. 386, Peterborough, UK.Google Scholar
  6. Nimis P.L., Castello M., Perotti M. (1990) Lichens as biomonitors of sulphur dioxide pollution in La Spezia (Northern Italy). Lichenologist 22: 333–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Sutton M.A., Pitcairn C.E.R., Leith I.D., van Dijk N., Tang Y.S., Skiba U., Smart S., Mitchell R., Wolseley P., James P., Purvis W., Fowler D. (2004) Bioindicator and biomonitoring methods for assessing the effects of atmospheric nitrogen on statutory nature conservation sites. In: Sutton M.A., Pitcairn C.E.R., Whitfield C.P., JNCC Report No: 356, Peterborough, UK.Google Scholar
  8. Sutton M.A., Leith I.D., Pitcairn C.E.R., van Dijk N., Tang Y.S., Sheppard L.J., Dragosits U., Fowler D., James P.W., Wolseley, P.A. (2005) Exposure of ecosystems to atmospheric ammonia in the UK and the development of practical indicator methods. In: Lambley P., Wolseley P.A. (eds.) Lichens in a changing pollution environment. English Nature Research Report 525: 51–62.Google Scholar
  9. van Dobben H.F. (1996) Decline and recovery of epiphytic lichens in an agricultural area in The Netherlands (1900–1988). Nova Hedwigia 62(3–4): 477–485.Google Scholar
  10. van Herk C.M. (1999) Mapping of ammonia pollution with epiphytic lichens in the Netherlands. Lichenologist 31: 9–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. van Herk C.M. (2001) Bark pH and susceptibility to toxic air pollutants as independent causes of changes in epiphytic lichen composition in space and time. Lichenologist 33: 419–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. van Herk C.M., Mathijssen-Spiekman E.A.M., de Zwart D. (2003) Long distance nitrogen air pollution effects on lichens in Europe. Lichenologist 35: 347–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. VDI (2005) Biological measurement procedures for determining and evaluating the effects of ambient air pollutants on lichens (bio-indication) — mapping the diversity of epiphytic lichens as indicators of air quality. VDI Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (The Association of Engineers),Kommission Reinhaltung der Luft im VDI und DIN — Normenausschuss KRdL (CommissionGoogle Scholar
  14. on Air Pollution Prevention of VDI and DIN — Standards Committee) 3957, Part 13, Berlin. http://www.vdi.de/vdi/presse/mitteilungen_details/index.php?ID=1015947
  15. Wolseley P.A., Pryor K.V. (1999) The potential of epiphytic twig communities on Quercus petraea in a welsh woodland site (Tycanol) for evaluating environmental changes. Lichenologist 31: 41–61.Google Scholar
  16. Wolseley P.A., James P.W., Theobald M.R., Sutton M.A. (2006) Detecting changes in epiphytic lichen communities at sites affected by atmospheric ammonia from agricultural sources. Lichenologist 38: 161–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wolseley P.A., Leith I., van Dijk N., Sutton M. (2007) Macrolichens on twigs and trunks as indicators of ammonia concentrations across the UK — a practical method. In: 20th Task Force Meeting of the ICP Vegetation: Programme, Abstracts (Dubna, March 5–9, 2007). Dubna: JINR: 73 [abstract].Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Wolseley
    • 1
  • Ian D. Leith
    • Netty van Dijk
      • Mark A. Sutton
        1. 1.Department of BotanyNHM LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

        Personalised recommendations