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Isotopes Environ Health Stud. 2007 Jun;43(2):95-104.

Effects of natural environmental factors on delta13C of lichens.

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National Institute of Research and Development for Isotopic and Molecular Technologies, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


This preliminary study was designed to determine the extent to which the carbon isotope ratio in four species of lichens was influenced by such features as humidity, rainfall, radioactivity, and air quality. The sampling sites were selected to be at a great distance from any pollution. At the time of sampling, field data (temperature, relative humidity, average monthly precipitation, and radioactivity) were recorded. delta(13)C in whole lichen specimens were determined using standard mass spectrometric techniques with a standard deviation of+/-0.3 per thousand. We have found a weak but negative correlation between delta(13)C and relative humidity, and a positive correlation between delta(13)C and average monthly precipitation at the studied sites. The effects were minor, of the order of 1.5 per thousand for all the lichens. We have examined the correlation between (137)Cs activity concentration of the studied lichens and delta(13)C of these lichens, and we have suggested that fixation of radiocesium does not alter photosynthesis rate. There was a delta(13)C variation with the altitude gradient with less negative delta(13)C values at higher altitude. It is possible that this difference is caused by the ozone and occurred at the high elevations.

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