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Use of mosses to study atmospheric deposition of trace elements: contributions from investigations in Norway

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This paper presents essential features of biomonitoring work carried out in the author's laboratory during more than 25 years using various analytical techniques for the determination of over 50 elements. A substantial part of this work concerns large-scale deposition surveys in Norway using the moss Hylocomium splendens, where five nationwide surveys have been carried out since 1977. Considerable efforts have also been spent on intercalibration of different species of mosses and transformation of concentrations in moss to absolute deposition rates. Other significant activities include establishment of recommended values for moss reference samples, source apportionment of lead in mosses by stable isotope ratios and monitoring of local metal deposition around factories. Experience from this work has facilitated a critical evaluation of the contribution from sources other than atmospheric deposition to the elemental composition of the moss, as well as factors leading to depletion of elements in the moss. Recent work indicates that mosses may also be suitable for the monitoring of persistent halogenated organic pollutants and 137Cs deposition.

Keywords: atmospheric deposition, trace elements, biomonitoring, moss, intercalibration, error sources, lead isotopes, POPs, air pollution, biomonitors, Norway, metals deposition, organic pollutants

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