Element analysis was conducted on naturally-growing Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale and Punctelia rudecta (Ach.) Krog (26 sites) in 2003–05 for a 30-year resurvey of forest lichen communities near a power plant in Wisconsin. Cu, Cr, N, and S increased strongly with power plant impact (66 samples, both species) and are good candidate bioindicators for local pollution; Al and Fe increased weakly and are not recommended. Hg is a candidate pollution indicator from comparison with a background site (only F. caperata data: 39 samples, 23 sites). Only N and S were correlated with lichen species abundance and are thus candidate bioindicators for lichen response. Abundance of P. rudecta was lower and that of Phaeophyscia pusilloides (Zahlbr.) Essl. was higher with more N or S in lichens; abundances of F. caperata and large foliose species as a group were lower with higher modeled SO2 from the power plant (no response from four other tested lichen species or groups). Sites in more forested landscapes to the west of the power plant had more lichen species, including disturbance-sensitive taxa. Heathier lichens there may have led to higher concentrations of Al, Cr, and S, plus Li (only F. caperata data). Univariate general linear modeling (GLM) was more useful than regression to test species effect at 7 sites. Element analysis confirmed earlier records of minimal power plant impact on lichens in this area, where no truly pollution-sensitive lichen species have been recorded for decades.
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Vol. 118 • No. 4