Main content area

Interspecies comparison of three moss species (Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi, and Isothecium stoloniferum) as biomonitors of trace element deposition

Cowden, Phaedra, Aherne, Julian
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2019 v.191 no.4 pp. 220
Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi, aluminum, arsenic, atmospheric deposition, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, environmental monitoring, indicator species, iron, lead, manganese, mosses and liverworts, nickel, surveys, vanadium, zinc, Europe, North America
Biomonitoring with mosses is a common method widely used to assess the spatial and temporal trends of atmospheric deposition in Europe since its introduction in the 1970s. Based on previous investigations, certain moss species provide the most accurate reflection of atmospheric deposition. However, sampling of just one species across large areas can pose a challenge, therefore the ability to use multiple moss species interchangeably is integral to an effective moss biomonitoring survey. In this study, biomonitoring abilities of two common species (Hylocomium splendens [Hs] and Pleurozium schreberi [Ps]) were compared to a potential new biomonitoring species endemic to North America (Isothecium stoloniferum [Is]). Thirteen metal concentrations were analyzed (Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, and Pb) in moss tissue from 20 sites with co-located species (Ps/Hs, Is/Hs) Five metals (Al, V, Fe, Ni, and Pb) showed significant and strong correlations (Spearman correlation, r ≥ 0.7 α = 0.05) for all three species, reflecting the established deposition gradient in the region. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in observations (and moderate correlation) for Cr, which suggests that all species exhibited similar uptake abilities for these six metals (Al, V, Cr, Fe, Ni, and Pb). Four metals (Co, As, Se, and Cd) exhibited concentrations below detection at a number of sites, which may have influenced the assessment of interspecies relationships. It is recommended that interspecies calibration be carried out under all surveys that employ multiple moss species.