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Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2012 May;79:184-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2011.12.021. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Athyrium distentifolium used for bioindication at different altitudes in the Tatra National Park (South Poland).

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Department of Ecology, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Protection, WrocŁaw University, ul. Kanonia 6/8, 50-328 Wroclaw, Poland.


This research is a continuation of investigations on the biogeochemistry of metal accumulation of the fern Athyrium distentifolium in the Tatra National Park in Poland. This species, abundantly growing throughout the Tatra mountains, was sampled from sites with identical type of bedrocks (granites/gneisses) at various altitudes between 1000 and 2050 m a.s.l. Concentrations of the elements Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn were measured in the fern. This investigation was done to verify the hypothesis that differences in the elemental composition of A. distentifolium (growing on the same type of substrate) reflect the differences of the atmospheric metal deposition at various altitudes. We verified this hypothesis using the Market Basket Analysis technique. MBA revealed that at low altitude (1000-1500 m a.s.l.) A. distentifolium contains very low concentrations of Cd, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. At a medium altitude (1501-1700 m a.s.l.) the fern contains a very high concentration of Pb and at a high altitude (1701-2050 m a.s.l.) the fern contains very high concentrations of Cd, Cr, Mn, Ni and Zn. The different altitudes on which A. distentifolium grew influenced the concentrations of elements accumulated in this species. Our investigation pointed out that A. distentifolium is able to accumulate elevated levels of metals and therefore may be used in controlling metal pollution. In addition A. distentifolium gives comparable bioindicative results as the moss P. schreberi in the same Tatra mountains. As the investigated species has a wide circumpolar distribution in mountains of the Northern hemisphere therefore it may be used in controlling long range metal pollution in such mountainous areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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