MOSS as pollution monitor

Why In news?

According to Japanese scientists, delicate mosses found on rocks and trees in cities around the world can be used to measure the impact of atmospheric change and could prove a low-cost way to monitor urban pollution, according to Japanese scientists.

FACTS (for prelims)

1.Mosses belong to the division Bryophyta.

Bryophytes are termed as amphibians of the plant kingdom, because though they live on the soil they require water for sexual reproduction.

2.Mosses –

i) They are small flowerless plants that typically grow in dense green clumps or mats, often in damp or shady locations.

ii) The individual plants are usually composed of simple leaves that are generally only one cell thick, attached to a stem that may be branched or unbranched and has only a limited role in conducting water and nutrients.

iii)Although some species have conducting tissues, these are generally poorly developed and structurally different from similar tissue found in vascular plants.

iv) Mosses do not have seeds and after fertilisation develops sporophytes with unbranched stalks topped with single capsules containing spores.

v) They are typically 0.2–10 cm (0.1–3.9 in) tall, though some species are much larger. Dawsonia, the tallest moss in the world, can grow to 50 cm (20 in) in height.


ANALYSIS (For mains)

According to researchers, Moss can act as an efficient bioindicator since it responds to pollution by changing shape, density or disappearing, which allows scientists to calculate atmospheric alterations.


what is a Bio-indicator?

A bio-indicator is any species (an “indicator species”) or group of species whose function, population, or status can reveal the qualitative status of the environment.

Bio-indicators can tell us about the cumulative effects of different pollutants in the ecosystem and about how long a problem may have been present, which physical and chemical testing cannot.


Significance of the findings –

1.This method is very cost effective and important for getting information about atmospheric conditions.

2.Mosses are a common plant in all cities so this method can be used in many countries.

3.They can be used in Urban Planning and to monitor the effect of nitrogen pollution, air quality and drought-stress.