University of Hertfordshire

  • Agneta Burton
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Publication statusPublished - 1990


The widespread distribution of bryophytes and the tolerance of many species to certain contaminants has led to their use for monitoring purposes. Early this century, changes in the distribution of mosses in urban habitats indicated deteriorating air quality; alterations in species composition in rivers has reflected changing water quality. The main focus in the past 10 to 20 years has been on measuring levels of contaminants in both terrestrial and aquatic bryophytes. Concentrations of metals, organic chemicals, radionuclides and derivatives of acidic gases have been widely reported in species from contaminated and background areas. More rarely, physiological and biochemical parameters are monitored. This paper describes the approaches which have been used and results obtained from monitoring bryophytes in urban and industrial habitats. Data are reviewed from a range of countries illustrating the increasing interest in low cost methods for monitoring contamination

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