An epiphytic lichen and a soil lichen in two very closely related genera (Parmelia sulcata and Xanthoparmelia chlorochroa, respectively) were sampled 16 years apart at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and measured for their elemental content. Mercury and cadmium decreased approximately 30% over the time period in both species. Sulfur decreased 8% in the epiphytic species, but increased 20% in the soil lichen. Factor analysis revealed that soil elements were higher in the soil lichen, indicating there was some soil contamination in that species. A relationship between iron and titanium was found only in the soil lichen. Sulfur and mercury were highly enriched in both species relative to the soil, which suggests that the atmosphere is a contributing source of these elements. New baseline values were calculated, 22 elements for both species, although it is not recommended that the soil lichen be sampled in the future.
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16-year trends in elements of lichens at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND