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Environments 2017, 4(4), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments4040094

Buellia dispersa (Lichens) Used as Bio-Indicators for Air Pollution Transport: A Case Study within the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada (USA)

1
Department of Physical Sciences, College of Southern Nevada, North Las Vegas, NV 89030, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
3
Department of Biological Sciences, College of Southern Nevada, North Las Vegas, NV 89030, USA
4
Terra Antiqua Research, Henderson, NV 89074, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 11 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 17 December 2017
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Abstract

Hazardous substances (e.g., toxic elements, oxides of nitrogen, carbon and sulfur) are discharged to the environment by a number of natural and anthropogenic activities. Anthropogenic air pollution commonly contains trace elements derived from contaminants and additives released into the atmosphere during fossil fuel combustion (automobiles, power generation, etc.) as well as physical processes (e.g., metal refining, vehicle brake wear, and tire and pavement wear). Analysis of pollutant chemical concentrations in lichens collected across the Las Vegas Valley allows documentation of the distribution of air pollution in the Valley. Analyses of lichen biomass (Buellia dispersa), when compared to windrose diagrams, shows pathways of airborne pollutant transport across the Las Vegas Valley. The west and north sectors of the Las Vegas Valley contained the lowest target contaminates (e.g., Cr, Cu, Co, Pb, Ni) and the highest NO3 while the east and south sectors contained the highest levels of target contaminates and lowest NO3. Additionally, metals and NO3 detected in the east and south sectors of the valley indicate that air pollution generated in the valley is moving from the south to the north-northeast and across the valley, exiting on the north and south side of Frenchman Mountain. View Full-Text
Keywords: Las Vegas; Buellia dispersa; lichen; air pollution; trace metals; nitrates; windrose Las Vegas; Buellia dispersa; lichen; air pollution; trace metals; nitrates; windrose
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Sims, D.B.; Hudson, A.C.; Park, J.H.; Hodge, V.; Porter, H.; Spaulding, W.G. Buellia dispersa (Lichens) Used as Bio-Indicators for Air Pollution Transport: A Case Study within the Las Vegas Valley, Nevada (USA). Environments 2017, 4, 94.

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