Mosses as indicators of urban environmental pollution: Examples of pylaisia polyantha (HEDW.) B.S.G. from West Siberia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Methods which are based on the use of mosses and lichens are actively developing to assess air pollution by heavy metals (HM) and other toxic elements. Bio-monitoring of air pollution by heavy metals and other chemical elements using mosses is one of the most popular, simple, promising and cost-effective methods of monitoring, detecting and estimation of air quality changes. The method of moss-biomonitors is based on the comparative analysis of the concentrations of chemical elements in mosses, collected on various sites on the study area. This method allows the determination of the most polluted zones and monitors the air pollution dynamics, and at known background concentrations it makes it possible to avoid the definition of maximum allowable concentration, which is an uneasy and unresolved problem. In carrying out this kind of research, the question of choosing the most suitable type of moss from the viewpoint of research objectives and the accumulation properties arises. For example, the ground species of moss (Pleurozium schreberi (Brid.) Mitt., Hylocomium splendens (Hedw.) B. S. G., Hypnum cupressiforme Hedw.) dwell in woodlands so they are used to assess the dynamics of regional air pollution and to study the transboundary transfer of atmospheric deposition of HM. Air pollution in urban areas is more preferable to study with epiphytic mosses. Epiphytes inhabit the bark of old trees (poplars, birches, etc.), are widespread, usually grow in clusters and a have a long life cycle. We analyzed 10 species of moss (4 terrestrial, 4 paludal (bog) and 2 epiphytic), collected in 3 sites within an area of 10 m2 and located at a distance of less than 1 km from each other. The analysis showed the epiphytic mosses have the highest accumulation properties; a detailed description of which is given in this chapter. To estimate the degree of air pollution of HM when using mosses, it becomes necessary to determine the background concentrations of the chemical elements in the moss indicators used. In this chapter, the case of epiphytic moss Pylaisia polyantha (Hedw.) B. S. G. has been used to estimate the natural concentrations and background urbanized areas with the help of statistical methods of processing the measurement results. Tomsk State University together with Tomsk Polytechnic University have developed a method for assessing atmospheric air pollution by HM and other chemical elements using epiphytic mosses. Studies were conducted on the use of this method for studying atmospheric air pollution by HM in the city of Tomsk. The main sources of pollution have been identified, as well as the dynamics of pollution levels for 2008-2011 have been tracked.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMosses
Subtitle of host publicationEcology, Life Cycle and Significance
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9781536143300
ISBN (Print)9781536143294
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • Air pollution
  • Bioindication
  • Pylaisia polyantha
  • West Siberia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Mosses as indicators of urban environmental pollution: Examples of pylaisia polyantha (HEDW.) B.S.G. from West Siberia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this