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ROCHA, LEDYANE D. et al. Morphometric differences of Microgramma squamulosa (Kaulf.) de la Sota (Polypodiaceae) leaves in environments with distinct atmospheric air quality. An. Acad. Bras. Ciênc. [online]. 2014, vol.86, n.3, pp.1137-1146.  Epub July 11, 2014. ISSN 0001-3765.

Plants growing in environments with different atmospheric conditions may present changes in the morphometric parameters of their leaves. Microgramma squamulosa (Kaulf.) de la Sota is a neotropical epiphytic fern found in impacted environments. The aims of this study were to quantitatively compare structural characteristics of leaves in areas with different air quality conditions, and to identify morphometric parameters that are potential indicators of the effects of pollution on these plants. Fertile and sterile leaves growing on isolated trees were collected from an urban (Estância Velha) and a rural (Novo Hamburgo) environment, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. For each leaf type, macroscopic and microscopic analyses were performed on 192 samples collected in each environment. The sterile and fertile leaves showed significantly greater thickness of the midrib and greater vascular bundle and leaf blade areas in the rural environment, which is characterized by less air pollution. The thickness of the hypodermis and the stomatal density of the fertile leaves were greater in the urban area, which is characterized by more air pollution. Based on the fact that significant changes were found in the parameters of both types of leaves, which could possibly be related to air pollutants, M. squamulosa may be a potential bioindicator.

Keywords : atmospheric pollution; bioindicator; epiphytism; fern; leaf anatomy.

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