Application of source-receptor models to determine source areas of biological components (pollen and butterflies)

DOI: 10.3369/tethys.2010.7.01

Tethys no. 7 pp.: 3 - 10


The source-receptor models allow the establishment of relationships between a receptor point (sampling point) and the probable source areas (regions of emission) through the association of concentration values at the receptor point with the corresponding atmospheric back-trajectories, and, together with other techniques, to interpret transport phenomena on a synoptic scale. These models are generally used in air pollution studies to determine the areas of origin of chemical compounds measured at a sampling point, and thus be able to target actions to reduce pollutants. However, until now, few studies have applied these types of models to describe the source areas of biological organisms. In Catalonia there are very complete records of pollen (data from the Xarxa Aerobiològica de Catalunya, Aerobiology Network of Catalonia) and butterflies (data from the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme), a biological material that is also liable to be transported long distances and whose areas of origin could be interesting to know. This work presents the results of the use of the Seibert et al. model applied to the study of the source regions of: (1) certain pollen of an allergic nature, observed in Catalonia and the Canary Islands, and (2) the migratory butterfly Vanessa cardui, observed in Catalonia. Based on the results obtained we can corroborate the suitability of these models to determine the area of origin of several species, both chemical and biological, therefore expanding the possibilities of applying the original model to the wider field of Aerobiology.


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Partially funded through grants CGL2007-29820-E/CLI, CGL2008-02804-E/, CGL2009-07417-E and CGL2011-14046-E of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation