Tracking mercury with lichens

A study for an undergraduate honours project by Cardy Saunders was expanded with support from the Irving research grants into a multiyear project involving John Murimboh (Chemistry), Allison Walker (Biology) and Sara Klapstein and Nelson O'Driscoll (Environmental Science) as coauthors. They used analyses of lichens and GIS to examine toxic element pollution patterns across NS.

Some highlights of the study:


  • Epiphytic lichens were used as passive samplers for air pollution.
  • Hg in lichen results from historical long-range transport.
  • Other potentially toxic elements (Pb, Cd) concentrations are similar to other remote regions.
  • both long-range atmospheric sources and mineral sources are involved.

The full article in can be found in Chemosphere, vol. 31:


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