Moss: a bio-monitor of atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the Yangtze River Delta

November 18, 2019

Atmospheric reactive nitrogen (N) deposition has more than doubled over the past century.  It is very important to estimate the rates and sources of N deposition because it's considered as a main factor of ecosystem structure changes, such as soil acidification, water eutrophication and biodiversity losses, especially in countries with high N deposition, such as China. However, it is very difficult to obtain monitoring data of atmospheric N deposition because of the complexity of N species and the diversity of deposition forms.

Mosses are very widespread. Almost all of nitrogen for mosses growth are from air and rainfall. Therefore, many researchers investigate N deposition levels and its effects by using moss, especially in Europe and Southwest China. However, whether mosses can be used to monitor atmospheric N deposition in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region has yet to be determined.

"We collected rainwater and moss tissue at six monitoring sites in the YRD with three land-use types--urban, suburban, and rural and analyzed moss (Haplocladium microphyllum) N content, wet N deposition rate, and their N isotope signatures." says Dr. Tao Huang, from the School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University.

Based on this study, they found a significant linear relationship between moss N content and wet N deposition rate. In addition, they also determined a consistent decreasing trend for moss N content and wet N deposition from urban to suburban to rural areas. The more negative N isotopic signature of suburban and rural mosses indicated N is mainly released from agricultural ammonia, while the less negative N isotopic signature of urban mosses highlighted a main influence from fossil fuel combustion and traffic emissions. The findings are published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters.

"The important revelation of our study is that the epilithic moss Haplocladium microphyllum can bio-monitor the rates and sources of atmospheric N deposition in the YRD, making up for the lack of monitoring data of N deposition," concludes Dr. Huang.
-end-


Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Related Nitrogen Articles from Brightsurf:

Chemistry: How nitrogen is transferred by a catalyst
Catalysts with a metal-nitrogen bond can transfer nitrogen to organic molecules.

Illinois research links soil nitrogen levels to corn yield and nitrogen losses
What exactly is the relationship between soil nitrogen, corn yield, and nitrogen loss?

Reducing nitrogen with boron and beer
The industrial conversion of nitrogen to ammonium provides fertiliser for agriculture.

New nitrogen products are in the air
A nifty move with nitrogen has brought the world one step closer to creating a range of useful products -- from dyes to pharmaceuticals -- out of thin air.

'Black nitrogen'
In the periodic table of elements there is one golden rule for carbon, oxygen, and other light elements.

A deep dive into better understanding nitrogen impacts
This special issue presents a selection of 13 papers that advance our understanding of cascading consequences of reactive nitrogen species along their emission, transport, deposition, and the impacts in the atmosphere.

How does an increase in nitrogen application affect grasslands?
The 'PaNDiv' experiment, established by researchers of the University of Bern on a 3000 m2 field site, is the largest biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiment in Switzerland and aims to better understand how increases in nitrogen affect grasslands.

Reducing reliance on nitrogen fertilizers with biological nitrogen fixation
Crop yields have increased substantially over the past decades, occurring alongside the increasing use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Flushing nitrogen from seawater-based toilets
With about half the world's population living close to the coast, using seawater to flush toilets could be possible with a salt-tolerant bacterium.

We must wake up to devastating impact of nitrogen, say scientists
More than 150 top international scientists are calling on the world to take urgent action on nitrogen pollution, to tackle the widespread harm it is causing to humans, wildlife and the planet.

Read More: Nitrogen News and Nitrogen Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.