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Environ Pollut. 2005 Sep;137(2):241-52.

Reflectance properties and physiological responses of Salicornia virginica to heavy metal and petroleum contamination.

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Schreberstrasse 17, 49080, Osnabrück, Germany.


Wetland ecosystems of California are located in highly populated areas and subject to high levels of contamination. Monitoring of wetlands to assess degrees of pollution damage requires periodic retrieval of information over large areas, which can be effectively accomplished by rapidly evolving remote sensing technologies. The biophysical principles of remote sensing of vegetation under stress need to be understood in order to correctly interpret the information obtained at the scale of canopies. To determine the potential to remotely characterize and monitor pollution, plants of Salicornia virginica, a major component of wetland communities in California, were treated with two metals and two crude oil types to study their sensitivity to pollutants and how this impacted their reflectance characteristics. Several growth and physiological parameters, as well as shoot reflectance were measured and correlated with symptoms and contamination levels. Significant differences between treatments were found in at least some of the measured parameters in all pollutants. Reflectance was sensitive to early stress levels only for cadmium and the lightweight petroleum. Pollutants that differ in their way of action also had different plant reflectance signatures. The high degree of correlation between reflectance features and stress indicators highlights the potential of using remote sensing to assess the type and degree of pollution damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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