Lichen & SO2-A Bioindicator or air pollutants

Lichen Group/Magda Estrada (
Westport High School

Grade Level:
• High School (10-12)

Research Question

How does SO2 affect Lichen Growth in an Urban Environment?
Can Tardigrades survive in the Urban Environment?

Literature Review

"Tardigrades" (Bears of the moss)
Miller, William R.
Emporia State University
Prepared and issued by the Division of Biological Sciences
ISSN: 0022-877X

Experimental Method

1. First we looked for all information regarding SO2 and its affect on lichen growth.
2. Collect lichen samples from different trees and from different directions.
3. Summarized and analyzed our data.
4. Analyzed lichen samples and looked for Tardigrades.
5. Summarized the lichen analysis and tardigrade observations.
6. Made a displayed board presentation.
7. Created a Powerpoint presentation.

Results of the Study

The results that we obtained were great, and we were able to discover the air quality of Kansas City metro area. We understood a little more about lichen and SO2 from an experimental standpoint.

Data Analysis

The explanations for the results that we obtained were because,occurred because of cold while we were outside studying the trees. The pH of the bark was similar to other study groups. The trees that we were studying were located near a major boulevard or side street. Pollution affected the lichen growth of the Fruticose, Crustose, and Foliose lichen. The results depended upon where the study of the study of what kind of trees were sampled and the kind of weather and the level of SO2 pollution on that are a. The pH of the bark may have been a factor also on lichen growth. This factor may need a further study.
The study at Gladewater High School showed higher numbers of lichen growth than Westport. Gladewater tested with Oak trees which tends to have a lower pH than Elm, ash, and Hackberry, therefore pH may be a factor for lichen growth.
SO2 pollution may be a factor in restricting growth due to lower numbers of lichen growth in the metro area. Further study is need it in Fall, Winter and Spring to show any seasonal variations in growth.


The Conclusions that we draw from the results were that the Lichen growh may depend on many things such as pH, season, tree, and environment. The pH and weather may need further research to see if affects Lichen growth.


For more information on Lichens and other Arctic plants and animals, visit

Does SO2 affect Tardigrades as well as Lichen?
Does level of pH affects lichen growth?
Does Lichen live in a specific tree and does the pH of the tree bark affect lichen growth?
Does the season of the year affect Lichen growth?