The epiphytic lichen Pseudevernia furfuracea is widely used as biomonitor of airborne trace elements and other contaminants and consists of two taxonomic varieties (var. furfuracea and var. ceratea). Here, we assessed the occurrence of inter-varietal differences in the elemental composition of paired samples of var. furfuracea and var. ceratea collected in 20 remote sites of Italian mountains. The concentration of 40 elements was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy, after digestion with HNO3 and aqua regia. The magnitude of inter-varietal differences compared to the effect of large-scale site-dependent environmental factors (i.e., lithological substrate, host tree species, and altitude) on overall element content was explored by multivariate analysis techniques and tested by generalized linear mixed modeling (GLMM). Further GLMMs were separately fitted for each element testing taxonomic-related variability against uncertainty associated to the analytical procedure. Inter-varietal differences were statistically significant only for Hg and P, with higher content in var. ceratea at most sites, and for Mg and Zn, showing the opposite pattern. Since the elemental composition of P. furfuracea in remote sites was mostly affected by local lithology and climatic conditions, our results confirm that lichen material for active biomonitoring should be collected in a single ecologically homogeneous remote area. We also indicate sites in the Eastern Alps where P. furfuracea showed the minimum content of most elements, which are suggested as locations to collect lichen material for transplants. Besides the context-dependency at large spatial scale, variations of elemental composition apparently related to taxonomy, could possibly be due to unequal incidence of morphological traits of the collected material. Further research is needed to clarify this issue, and how it affects bioaccumulation phenomena.
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|Titolo:||Infraspecific variability in baseline element composition of the epiphytic lichen Pseudevernia furfuracea in remote areas: implications for biomonitoring of air pollution|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|
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