Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Earth Sciences

Committee Chair

Youngsang Kwon

Committee Member

Arleen A Hill

Committee Member

Dorian J Burnette


This thesis was undertaken to evaluate the use of epiphytic lichens as bioindicators and Sentinel-5P TROPOMI estimates of NO2 and SO2 pollution to examine the impact of air quality on forest health in two different urban parks (Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and T.O. Fuller State Park) in Shelby County, Tennessee. Field survey of lichen abundance was cross-validated with Sentinel-5P TROPOMI air pollutant estimates and NDVI values from the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) were used to correlate forest health with air pollutants. Results showed the plots at Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park had overall higher lichen abundance than the plots at T.O. Fuller State Park while overall air pollutants were higher at T.O. Fuller State Park suggesting lichen abundance was affected by air pollutants. Combined park’s three-year (2019-2022) average concentrations of NO2 was the only pollutant to be related to geographic distribution of lichen abundance with statistical significance, suggesting NO2 has more negative impact on lichen abundance densities. When examined by individual park, Meeman-Shelby Forest had higher concentrations of SO2, and T.O. Fuller contained higher levels of NO2 at plot locations. Lichen abundance at Meeman-Shelby Forest showed a statistically significant negative correlation with SO2 levels and while not significant T.O. Fuller lichen abundance decreased with increased NO2. Strong positive correlation between NDVI values and lichen abundances suggested that long-term survey of lichen abundance at permanent plots would be a useful tool for monitoring of the impact of air pollutants to urban forest health.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access