Accumulation of airborne elements from vehicles in transplanted lichens in urban sites

J. Garty*, M. Kauppi, A. Kauppi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of the current study is to compare the short-term accumulation capacity of two epiphytic lichens characterized by a different type of thallus. The lichens Hypogymnia physodes (L.) Nyl. and Usnea hirta (L.) Weber em. Mot. were transplanted either to the vicinity of streets of low volume and slow traffic or to the vicinity of a highway in the city of Oulu, N. Finland, for a period of 45 d. Eleven elements were analyzed before and after transplantation. The two lichen species were found to possess a similar accumulating capacity for K and Mn. Hypogynmia physodes manifests a higher accumumulating capacity than U. hirta for Na, Fe, and Cu, whereas the more sensitive lichen U. hirta exhibits a higher accumulating capacity for Mg, despite a higher primary concentration of these elements in the thallus of H. physodes. Our findings show a relative high concentration of K, Fe, Mg, Zn, Mn, Pb, and Cu in thalli of H. physodes and Mg, Zn, Pb, Cu, and Cd in U. hirta in material transplanted to streets of low volume and slow traffic, over and above the concentration found in thalli retrieved from the vicinity of the highway. This may be explained by the higher rate of abrasion of car engines running idle near traffic lights and by the lesser ventilation near the close-clustered streets of the inner city.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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