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Evaluating summarised radionuclide concentration ratio datasets for wildlife

Wood, M, Beresford, NA, Howard, BJ and Copplestone, D 2013, 'Evaluating summarised radionuclide concentration ratio datasets for wildlife' , Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 126 , pp. 314-325.

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Concentration ratios (CRwo-media) are used in most radioecological models to predict whole-body radionuclide activity concentrations in wildlife from those in environmental media. This simplistic approach amalgamates the various factors influencing transfer within a single generic value and, as a result, comparisons of model predictions with site-specific measurements can vary by orders of magnitude. To improve model predictions, the development of 'condition-specific' CRwo-media values has been proposed (e.g. for a specific habitat). However, the underlying datasets for most CRwo-media value databases, such as the wildlife transfer database (WTD) developed within the IAEA EMRAS II programme, include summarised data. This presents challenges for the calculation and subsequent statistical evaluation of condition-specific CRwo-media values. A further complication is the common use of arithmetic summary statistics to summarise data in source references, even though CRwo-media values generally tend towards a lognormal distribution and should, therefore, be summarised using geometric statistics. In this paper, we propose a statistically-defensible and robust method for reconstructing underlying datasets to calculate condition-specific CRwo-media values from summarised data and deriving geometric summary statistics. This method is applied to terrestrial datasets from the WTD. Statistically significant differences in sub-category CRwo-media values (e.g. mammals categorised by feeding strategy) were identified, which may justify the use of these CRwomedia values for specific assessment contexts. However, biases and limitations within the underlying datasets of the WTD explain some of these differences. Given the uncertainty in the summarised CRwo-media values, we suggest that the CRwo-media approach to estimating transfer is used with caution above screening-level assessments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Radionuclide transfer, statistical analysis, geometric statistic, lognormal distribution, environmental assessment, model parameter
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0265-931X
Related URLs:
Funders: Vice-Chancellor's Early Career Research Scholarship, University of Salford
Depositing User: S Rafiq
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 17:49
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:54

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