Kosonen Z, Thimonier A, Schnyder E, Thöni L (2018) Nitrogen concentration in moss compared with N load in precipitation and with total N deposition in Switzerland. Environmental Pollution, 239: 169-178. [10.1016/j.envpol.2018.03.063]


Ammonia;Biomonitoring;Hypnum cupressiforme;Passive samplers;Pleurozium schreberi; Nitrogen; Deposition


Intensification of farming and an increase in motorised traffic have led to elevated nitrogen (N) emissions and thus to eutrophication of the environment, which threatens the nutrient balance in ecosystems. Earlier studies have demonstrated the suitability of mosses as biomonitors for measuring N deposition by comparing the N concentration in moss with that in precipitation. In our study however, we extended the comparison to the dry deposition of gases (nitrogen dioxide, nitric acid, ammonia) and aerosols (nitrate, ammonium), which, together with the N in precipitation, represent the main contributions to total N deposition. The aim of including several N compounds was to see whether the correlation with the N concentration in moss could be improved. We determined total N input from the atmosphere to the ecosystem at 24 sites in Switzerland and compared this value to the N concentration in two moss species collected <1000?m from these sites. Including the gases and aerosols improved the correlation between the N concentration in moss and N deposition. Ammonia was found to be the most important of the additionally included compounds at these sites. Especially at sites with a relatively high ammonia concentration in the air, the inclusion of ammonia improved the correlation of the comparison. We also demonstrate that the particular moss species tested had no influence on the correlation between N in moss and total N deposition. Our data supports the suitability of mosses as biomonitors for estimating N input into ecosystems.

LWF Classification

Network: LWF, Sites: Alptal;Beatenberg;Bettlachstock;Celerina;Davos;Jussy;Nationalpark;Novaggio;Othmarsingen;Schänis;Visp;Vordemwald, Category: ISI,