Meta-analysis of the relative sensitivity of semi-natural vegetation species to ozone

Environ Pollut. 2007 Apr;146(3):754-62. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2006.06.011. Epub 2006 Aug 8.


This study identified 83 species from existing publications suitable for inclusion in a database of sensitivity of species to ozone (OZOVEG database). An index, the relative sensitivity to ozone, was calculated for each species based on changes in biomass in order to test for species traits associated with ozone sensitivity. Meta-analysis of the ozone sensitivity data showed a wide inter-specific range in response to ozone. Some relationships in comparison to plant physiological and ecological characteristics were identified. Plants of the therophyte lifeform were particularly sensitive to ozone. Species with higher mature leaf N concentration were more sensitive to ozone than those with lower leaf N concentration. Some relationships between relative sensitivity to ozone and Ellenberg habitat requirements were also identified. In contrast, no relationships between relative sensitivity to ozone and mature leaf P concentration, Grime's CSR strategy, leaf longevity, flowering season, stomatal density and maximum altitude were found. The relative sensitivity of species and relationships with plant characteristics identified in this study could be used to predict sensitivity to ozone of untested species and communities.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Altitude
  • Biomass
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Oxidants, Photochemical / toxicity*
  • Ozone / toxicity*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / physiology
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plants / drug effects*
  • Seasons
  • Species Specificity


  • Oxidants, Photochemical
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen