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Lichen as a ¬bioindicator of mercury emissions and deposition from former mercury mines in Central California

  • Author(s): Zheng, Belle
  • Advisor(s): Weiss-Penzias, Peter
  • et al.
Abstract

Abandoned cinnabar mine sites continue to be a major source of mercury (Hg) pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area. The atmosphere may be an important route of transport of mercury from the mines to sensitive receptor regions. However, traditional methods of monitoring atmospheric mercury are spatially limited, inconvenient, expensive, and time consuming. Lichen biomonitoring can be used as a low-cost, efficient, and effective pollution indicator. Our previous studies have only focused on a limited selected of lichen species, which poses challenges when investigating new areas where specific species are unavailable. In this study, we observed the effect of two former mercury mining districts, New Almaden Quicksilver Mining District and Knoxville Mining District, on the distribution of Hg across the landscape.

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