Poster Title

Spatial and Temporal Effects of Train-sourced Air Pollution on Lichen (Ramalina farinacea) Near Bellinngham, WA

Research Mentor(s)

Ruth Sofield

Affiliated Department

Environmental Sciences

Sort Order

44

Start Date

15-5-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

15-5-2015 2:00 PM

Document Type

Event

Abstract

This project examines effects of train-specific air contaminants on Ramalina farinacea along the BNSF rail corridor near Bellingham. There is minimal research on train-specific effects on lichens. Due to forecasted doubling of coal train traffic to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, it is essential to address the effects train-sourced air pollution has on biological systems. Lichens are used as low cost air quality monitoring tools. Ramalina farinacea were collected from an area with minimal air pollution and redeployed at two locations in a gradient fashion: a site for exposure adjacent to the railway and a control site located one mile west of the railway. The sites are similar in slope, aspect, marine influence, and other abiotic and biotic factors. In January 2015, lichen samples were placed in mesh bags and deployed in three transects parallel to, and at increasing distances away from the rail corridor and the marine environment. Each mesh bag contains five individual samples. Each month one sample will be collected from each bag, allowing for the examination of both spatial and temporal trends. Each collected sample will be evaluated for elemental content, cellular membrane integrity, chlorophyll α / phaeophytin α ratio, concentration of malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione. Responses will be correlated with air pollution monitoring data, rail traffic, time, and distance. Community structure analysis will be performed at both sites. Our study allows for the temporal quantification of train-sourced air pollution on lichen, and gives insight into the character of the spatial gradient of that pollution.

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May 15th, 10:00 AM May 15th, 2:00 PM

Spatial and Temporal Effects of Train-sourced Air Pollution on Lichen (Ramalina farinacea) Near Bellinngham, WA

Environmental Sciences

This project examines effects of train-specific air contaminants on Ramalina farinacea along the BNSF rail corridor near Bellingham. There is minimal research on train-specific effects on lichens. Due to forecasted doubling of coal train traffic to the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal, it is essential to address the effects train-sourced air pollution has on biological systems. Lichens are used as low cost air quality monitoring tools. Ramalina farinacea were collected from an area with minimal air pollution and redeployed at two locations in a gradient fashion: a site for exposure adjacent to the railway and a control site located one mile west of the railway. The sites are similar in slope, aspect, marine influence, and other abiotic and biotic factors. In January 2015, lichen samples were placed in mesh bags and deployed in three transects parallel to, and at increasing distances away from the rail corridor and the marine environment. Each mesh bag contains five individual samples. Each month one sample will be collected from each bag, allowing for the examination of both spatial and temporal trends. Each collected sample will be evaluated for elemental content, cellular membrane integrity, chlorophyll α / phaeophytin α ratio, concentration of malondialdehyde, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione. Responses will be correlated with air pollution monitoring data, rail traffic, time, and distance. Community structure analysis will be performed at both sites. Our study allows for the temporal quantification of train-sourced air pollution on lichen, and gives insight into the character of the spatial gradient of that pollution.