The Influence Of Lichens On The Environment

Along with general human life quality, the amount of humans present on Earth has been increasing. In order to provide a satisfactory quality of life to the billions of people present in the world, humans began polluting their own planet, therefore causing many problems to other species of life. One such example reflected by this is the decreasing biodiversity of organisms within an environment, especially lichen. Scientists characterize environmental changes through the research of various organisms, due to their observable reactions toward change in their respective environment. Lichens, composite organisms consisting of a fungus and an algae or a cyanobacteria, act as bioindicators in revealing environmental changes, specifically ecological …show more content…
Through accurately measured and marked-off plots, lichenologists collect and examine lichen to eventually turn observations into scientific data. The biodiversity of lichen can provide information about the amount and type of pollutants present in an ecosystem, as well as its history. The main pollutants to affect lichens are sulphur and nitrogen oxides (SOx, NOx), and they are the most identifiable pollutants when using lichen as an environmental indicator (Gómez-Losada et. al, 2016). Moreover, as humans cause urbanization, deforestation, and agricultural practices as a result of human population growth within observed communities, the diversity of lichen decreases as a result (Henderson-Sellers & Seaward, 1979), even further concreting its suitability as a bioindicator. In 1940, the populations of Virginia and Maryland were 2.72 million and 1.84 million respectively. The number nearly doubled in 1980 to 5.35 million and 4.22 million, and by 2014 Virginia had reached 8.33 million and Maryland was approaching 6 million (USCB, 2016). Increase in pollution followed suit, and Virginia is now listed at 97 million metric tons of pollution produced annually. As a result, the quality of air is now just under 9 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter. Maryland is listed at 64 metric tons of pollution and 10.5 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter. As this data shows, with an increase of air pollution and decrease in the quality of air, a decrease in environmental quality follows due to a decrease in biodiversity (ALA,

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