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Effects of a Coal-Fired Power Plant on the Rock Lichen Rhizoplaca melanophthalma: Chlorophyll Degradation and Electrolyte Leakage

Jayne Belnap and Kimball T. Harper
The Bryologist
Vol. 93, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990), pp. 309-312
DOI: 10.2307/3243518
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3243518
Page Count: 4
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Effects of a Coal-Fired Power Plant on the Rock Lichen Rhizoplaca melanophthalma: Chlorophyll Degradation and Electrolyte Leakage
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Abstract

Chlorophyll degradation and electrolyte leakage were measured for the umbilicate desert lichen Rhizoplaca melanophthalma (Ram.) Leuck. & Poelt in the vicinity of a coal-fired power plant near Page, Arizona. Patterns of lichen damage indicated by chlorophyll degradation were similar to those indicated by electrolyte leakage. Regression analyses of chlorophyll degradation as well as electrolyte leakage on distance from the power plant were significant (p < 0.001), suggesting that lichen damage decreased with increasing distance from the power plant. Mean values for both variables at the two sites closest to the power plant (7 and 12 km) differed significantly from values for the two sites farthest from the plant (21 and 42 km; p < 0.001). Mean values within each group (7 and 12 km; 21 and 42 km) do not differ significantly for either parameter. It is suggested that effluents from the power plant combine with local weather factors to produce the observed levels of damage.

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