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Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

ST CLAIR, LARRY L [1], Leavitt, Steven [2].

Using Lichens to Document the Effects of Human-related Disturbance to Natural Landscapes.

Air quality biomonitoring efforts, spanning more than 25 years in the Intermountain Western United States, are being used to document air pollution-related impact on USDA Forest Service managed wilderness areas. Sources of air pollution range from fossil fuel processing and combustion to landscape level disturbance in conjunction with extraction and processing of mineral resources to increasing levels of wildfire activity. Elevated levels of Copper (≥ 34 ppm) and Aluminum (≥ 2500 ppm) as well as high Cu/Zn ratios (≥ 0.60) based on the analysis of two sensitive lichen indicator genera Usnea spp. and Xanthoparmelia spp., collected in 2014 from the Gila and Blue Range wilderness areas in New Mexico, suggest impact from local open-pit Copper mining and ore processing activity in southwestern New Mexico. The two wilderness areas are located northwest of the mining operations with prevailing wind patterns moving air from west to east. However, late afternoon monsoonal storms, from July through October, result in seasonal wind patterns that move air and moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California across the open-pit Copper mines in southwestern Mexico into both the Gila and Blue Range wilderness area airsheds. Differences in air pollutant accumulation patterns between fruticose (Usnea spp.) and foliose (Xanthoparmelia spp.) lichen growth forms suggest that, where possible, use of both growth forms for accurately documenting a more robust pattern of air pollutant accumulation is advisable.

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1 - Brigham Young University, Biology and M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, 1115 M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 84602, USA
2 - Brigham Young University, Department of Biology & M. L. Bean Life Science Museum, 4143 Life Science Building, Provo, UT, 84602, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 5, Bryology and Lichenology (ABLS) I
Location: Sundance 2/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 5006
Abstract ID:115
Candidate for Awards:None

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