Indirect biomonitoring

Indirect biomonitoring relies on differences in the sensitivity to pollutants among species to characterize the quality of the environment. One of the most extensively documented applications in bryophytes is the estimation of air quality from the composition of epiphytic species assemblages. This approach was initially introduced by LeBlanc and De Sloover (1970) through the 'index of atmospheric purity' (IAP). IAP is directly related to the bryophyte species richness and is the product of the ecological index of each species and its cover at the study site, summed over all species at the study site. In the absence of detailed information on the response of individual species to pollution, LeBlanc and De Sloover (1970) proposed that the ecological index of each species (i.e. its sensitivity to pollutants) can be established by adding together the number of species in the community, then taking the average of

Fig. 9.10. Isoclines of global air quality in the vicinity of the city of Vienna (Austria) derived from an index of air purity (IAP) based on the occurrence of indicator epiphytic species (reproduced from Krommer et al. 2007 with permission of Elsevier). Isoclines were deduced from observations made over 30 sites. The average IAP value of 10.6 corresponds to 16.8mgNO2m~3, 6.1 mg SO2m~3 and 24.2 mg dust particles m~3.

Fig. 9.10. Isoclines of global air quality in the vicinity of the city of Vienna (Austria) derived from an index of air purity (IAP) based on the occurrence of indicator epiphytic species (reproduced from Krommer et al. 2007 with permission of Elsevier). Isoclines were deduced from observations made over 30 sites. The average IAP value of 10.6 corresponds to 16.8mgNO2m~3, 6.1 mg SO2m~3 and 24.2 mg dust particles m~3.

the sums for all sites where the species is present. Ideally, a specific ecological index should be calculated for each area, since the same species does not necessarily exhibit the same sensitivity from one area to another (Zechmeister & Hohenwallner 2006). The IAP of all investigated sites can then be mapped to produce a graphic representation of the pollution loads, which can be used to follow changes in the spatial extent of pollution through time (Fig. 9.10) (Zechmeister & Hohenwallner 2006, Krommer et al. 2007).

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