Parmelia sulcata Taylor is generally believed to be fairly pollution tolerant, and consequently it is sometimes collected in urban and/or polluted localities. The condition of these specimens, however, is not always luxuriant and healthy. This study tested the hypothesis that total thallus and algal layer thickness, and the algal layer ratio would be thinner in polluted areas, thus allowing these characters to be used a indicators of air pollutant effects. Herbarium specimens were studied from 16 different localities varying in pollution level. The thallus and algal layers and ratio were not affected by year or locality of sampling, but decreased 11, 31 and 21% respectively between low and high pollution level localities. These results agreed with earlier studies using other species, but further work is needed to clarify the effects of geography and substrate on these phenomena.
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Algal layer ratios as indicators of air pollutant effects in Permelia sulcata