South-Central Section–40th Annual Meeting (6–7 March 2006)
Paper No. 4-4
Presentation Time: 3:50 PM-4:10 PM

LICHENS AS ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORS: MAPPING OF AIRBORNE TRANSPORT OF CONTAMINANTS FROM LAND DISPOSAL OF POULTRY WASTES WITHIN THE ILLINOIS RIVER WATERSHED

BRIDGE, Cas Fay1, GARVIN, Ean Meridith2, LANDRUM, Carla1, FISHER, J. Berton1, SUBLETTE, Kerry L.3, ROBERTS, Kenneth P.4, and WELLS, Harrington2, (1) Geosciences, University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104, cas-bridge@utulsa.edu, (2) Biology, University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104, (3) Chemical Engineering, University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104, (4) Chemistry, University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74104

Poultry farming is intensively practiced in the Illinois River watershed located in northwestern Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma. Currently, over 100 million broiler chickens are produced annually within this watershed, and the production of these birds produces more than 300,000 tons of wastes annually. The wastes produced contain elevated levels of heavy metals and other harmful pollutants. Typically, poultry wastes are land disposed by surface spreading on pastures located near their source. Some of the waste particulates are small enough to become airborne. As a consequence, surface spreading of these wastes is a potential hazard to human health. Prior studies have shown that poultry wastes contain high levels of Zn, Cu and As, and that when poultry waste is disposed by surface spreading, arsenic-containing dust is generated. This arsenic-containing dust has been found in homes in Prairie Grove, AR and in air quality monitors at Fayetteville, AR. The purpose of this research is to determine if heavy metals characteristic of poultry wastes (Zn, Cu and As) vary in concentration within lichens growing on tombstones in the Illinois River watershed as a function of the amount of poultry litter spread upwind go these tombstones. Lichens are symbiotic organisms comprised of fungi, algae, and/or cyanobacteria. They can be used as effective monitors of airborne pollutants because they derive all their nutrition from the air. Hence, if an airborne pollutant is present in the vicinity of lichen it may be incorporated into its biomass. Preliminary results indicate that the concentrations of Zn, Cu and As found in lichen tissues correlate with the intensity of poultry waste disposal upwind of lichen sampling locations.

South-Central Section–40th Annual Meeting (6–7 March 2006)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 4
Geochemistry and Environmental Geology
University of Oklahoma, College of Continuing Education: Conference Room A
2:50 PM-5:10 PM, Monday, 6 March 2006

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 1, p. 9

© Copyright 2006 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.