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Abstract Detail

Bryological and Lichenological Section/ABLS

St. Clair, Larry L. [1], Leavitt, Steven D. [2], Glacy, Lawrence [3], Shrestha, Gajendra [4], Leavitt, LauraDawn [3].

Re-evaluating a Thirty Year Old Lichen Air Quality Program in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, Colorado, USA.

In 1982 Mason Hale established a lichen air quality bio-monitoring program in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in west central Colorado. The baseline was subsequently reviewed in 1992 by Thomas Nash and associates and then again in 2009 by the authors. The original program consisted of a total of 21 reference sites distributed across the White River National Forest within or near the wilderness boundary. This program represents one of the longest continuously maintained and reviewed air quality bio-monitoring programs in North America. The original program parameters, included – species diversity lists for each reference site, pollutant element concentrations in lichen thalli, occurrence and distribution of pollution sensitive indicator species, and permanent photographic plots. All of the original parameters were reviewed in both the 1992 and 2009 surveys. Changes in species diversity at each site over the last 30 years appear to be related to 3 factors: 1) fine scale differences in areas examined at each time period; 2) differences in average time spent searching at each time period; and 3) human-related impact at some sites. Elemental analysis data were originally reported for only a limited number of sites (1982 and 1992). However, as a part of the 2009 review, elemental analysis samples were collected and analyzed from every reference site – thus providing a more comprehensive picture of pollutant element concentrations across the wilderness. Changes in the permanent photographic plots generally reflect the natural dynamic processes of successional change with some species increasing while others decrease and in some cases disappear over time. The value of the permanent photographic plots for monitoring air quality related change seems marginal. Other program parameters appear to be more sensitive indicators of air-pollution related change. Thirty years after Hale’s initial work – the lichen flora of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area continues to be diverse and healthy.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Brigham Young University, Biology Department and M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, 290 M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, Provo, Utah, 84602, USA
2 - Brigham Young University, Department of Biology and M.L. Life Science Museum , 401 WIDB Brigham Young University , Provo, Utah, 84602, USA
3 - Brigham Young University, M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, 290 M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, Provo, Utah, 84602, USA
4 - Brigham Young University, Department of Biology and M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, 193 M.L. Bean Life Science Museum, Provo, Utah, 84602, USA

Air quality Bio-monitoring
Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 19
Location: 554A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: 19008
Abstract ID:192

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