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How lichens and mosses reflect atmospheric deposition of natural and artificial radionuclides

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In a national survey in Slovenia, two biomonitors, the epiphytic lichen Hypogymnia physodes and the terrestrial moss Hypnum cupressiforme, were analysed for 210Pb and 137Cs. Further, the results for 210Pb were compared with outdoor 222Rn and with precipitation data. 210Pb activity concentrations in moss carpets and lichen thalli ranged between 180?2450 and 200?1990 Bq kg-1, respectively. 210Pb showed similar spatial distributions in the two biomonitors with the highest levels in north-western and southern parts of the country, with a strong gradient to the eastern part, reflecting the movement of global air masses and the amount of precipitation. Increased 222Rn concentrations over carbonate rocks were not reflected in lichen and moss 210Pb levels. 137Cs activity concentrations in lichens and mosses in the ranges 73?1400 and 49?600 Bq kg-1, respectively, were obtained. There was a relatively good agreement between the two biomonitors, with the highest values in the northern part of the country.

Keywords: atmospheric deposition, biomonitoring, Hypogymnia physodes, Hypnum cupressiforme, radionuclides, 210Pb, 137Cs, radon, outdoor air, track etch detectors, long-term measurements, correlation, Slovenia, lichens, mosses, biomonitors, air pollution, air quality

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