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Title: Geographical factors influencing the distribution of heavy metal tolerant indicator species in parts of the United Kingdom and Europe
Author: Smith, Roger Fielding
ISNI:       0000 0001 3457 0720
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1978
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The distribution of the indicator species Minuartia verna, Thlaspi alpestre and Armeria maritima on metalliferous substrates has been the major focus of attention with mention also of Silene maritima and Cochlearia officinalis. The concept of the indicator species as developed in the literature has been considered and a comparison has been made between the vegetation communities of metalliferous areas and those of serpentine soils with which they have certain aspects in common. The geology and history of mining of British and European ore deposits, insofar as these affect the indicator species, have been investigated. Ecological data has been obtained for metalliferous communities involving the indicator species in Yorkshire, Gwynedd, Derbyshire, the Mendips, Belgium and other regions. The relationship of Minuartia verna to substrate toxicity, competition and climate has been investigated and the implication of this relationship for succession on spoil materials has been considered. In terms of vegetation succession a parallel with British serpentine areas has been suggested. The hypothesis of long distance dispersal of the indicator species to mine sites has been evaluated as have suggestions of "in situ" survival since the Late Glacial period. An explanation envisaging survival of the indicator species in heavy metal refugia within the ore fields with subsequent spread to mine sites has been advanced and certain refugia have been identified. Some evidence for local disappearance of Minuartia verna and Thlaspi alpestre since the cessation of mining has been found. The sporadic occurrences of certain of the indicator species in metalliferous habitats have been investigated and explanations advanced for some of them. On substrates derived from ore deposits in the Carboniferous Limestone chemical parameters of the metalliferous environment have been found to explain only partially the distribution of the indicator species.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography