L’article “Impact of nickel mining in New Caledonia assessed by compositional data analysis of lichens” par Pasquet, C. et al., publié dans Springer Plus

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Camille Pasquet échantillonne un lichen aux environs de Poro, Nouvelle Calédonie

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L’article “Impact of nickel mining in New Caledonia assessed by compositional data analysis of lichens” par Pasquet, C., Le Monier, P, Monna, F., Durlet, C., Brigaud, B., Losno, R., Chateau, C., Laporte-Magoni, C., Gunkel-Grillon,  P. vient d’être publié chez Springer Plus.

Camille Pasquet, étudiante en thèse en co-direction Dijon – Nouméa ([email protected]), a travaillé sur l’utilisation des lichens comme bioindicateurs de la pollution atmosphérique. L’activité minière et métallurgique en Nouvelle Calédonie génère en effet une grande quantité de poussières fortement enrichies en Co, Cr et Ni, qui sont susceptibles de contaminer durablement les écosystèmes. L’utilisation combinée des lichens et d’un traitement statistique adapté s’avère particulièrement puissante pour cerner rapidement et à faible coût les zones impactées…

Abstract : The aim of this study is to explore the use of lichens as biomonitors of the impact of nickel mining and ore treatment on the atmosphere in the New Caledonian archipelago (South Pacific Ocean); both activities emitting also Co, Cr and possibly Fe. Metal contents were analysed in thirty-four epiphytic lichens, collected in the vicinity of the potential sources, and in places free from known historical mining. The highest Ni, Co, and Cr concentrations were, as expected, observed in lichens collected near ore deposits or treatment areas. The elemental composition in the lichens was explored by multivariate analysis, after appropriately transforming the variables (i.e. using compositional data analysis). The sample score of the first principal component (PC1) makes the largest (positive) multiplicative contribution to the log-ratios of metals originating from mining activities (Ni, Cr, Co) divided by Ti. The PC1 scores are used here as a surrogate of pollution levels related to mining and metallurgical activity. They can be viewed as synthetic indicators mapped to provide valuable information for the management and protection of ecosystems or, as a first step, to select locations where air filtration units could be installed, in the future, for air quality monitoring. However, as this approach drastically simplifies the problem, supplying a broadly efficient picture but little detail, recognizing the different sources of contamination may be difficult, more particularly when their chemical differences are subtle. It conveys only relative information: about ratios, not levels, and is therefore recommended as a preliminary step, in combination with close examination of raw concentration levels of lichens. Further validation using conventional air-monitoring by filter units should also prove beneficial.

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