Tracking atmospheric dispersion of metals in Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan region (Brazil) with epiphytes as bioindicators
Abstract The atmospheric dispersion atmospheric plume of the metropolitan region and neighborhoods of the city of Rio de Janeiro was investigated through elemental analyzes (Na, K, Al, Mn, Pb, Ni, Cr) and stable lead isotopes in two epiphytes; the lichen Parmotrema crinitum (Ach.) and the bromeliad Tillandsia usneoides (L.). All the elements had lower concentrations in epiphytes than in rocks of the local geological basement, with the exception of K, which was similar to rocks. This behavior was attributed to the nutritional essentiality and abundance of this element in the environment. The concentrations of Na, Pb and the 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/206Pb ratios indicated the presence of spatial gradients in the path (a) sea shore → continent, and (b) urban center → farmlands. These patterns were associated with the mesoscale atmospheric circulation regime, in which, during the arrival of cold fronts, air masses from the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro are transported towards the mountainous region of Teresópolis, which acts as a barrier to the dispersion of pollutants. The bromeliad Tillandsia usneoides and the lichen Parmotrema crinitum were linked to Na and Pb atmospheric levels, respectively.