Copper localization, elemental content, and thallus colour in the copper hyperaccumulator lichen Lecanora sierrae from California

Lichenologist
By: , and 

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Abstract

An unusual dark blue-green lichen, Lecanora sierrae, was discovered over 30 years ago by Czehura near copper mines in the Lights Creek District, Plumas County, Northern California. Using atomic absorption spectroscopy, Czehura found that dark green lichen samples from Warren Canyon contained 4% Cu in ash and suggested that its colour was due to copper accumulation in the cortex. The present study addressed the hypothesis that the green colour in similar material we sampled from Warren Canyon in 2008, is caused by copper localization in the thallus. Optical microscopy and electron microprobe analysis of specimens of L. sierrae confirmed that copper localization took place in the cortex. Elemental analyses of L. sierrae and three other species from the same localities showed high enrichments of copper and selenium, suggesting that copper selenates or selenites might occur in these lichens and be responsible for the unusual colour.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Copper localization, elemental content, and thallus colour in the copper hyperaccumulator lichen Lecanora sierrae from California
Series title Lichenologist
DOI 10.1017/S0024282910000770
Volume 43
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Contaminant Biology Program
Description 9 p.
First page 165
Last page 173