Radionuclide transfer to invertebrates and small mammals in a coastal sand dune ecosystem

Wood, MD ORCID:, Leah, RT, Jones, SR and Copplestone, D 2009, 'Radionuclide transfer to invertebrates and small mammals in a coastal sand dune ecosystem' , Science of the Total Environment, 407 (13) , pp. 4062-4074.

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International intercomparisons of models to assess the impact of ionising radiation on wildlife have identified radionuclide transfer assumptions as a significant source of uncertainty in the modelling process. There is a need to improve the underpinning data sets on radionuclide transfer to reduce this uncertainty, especially for poorly-studied ecosystems such as coastal sand dunes. This paper presents the results of the first published study of radionuclide transfer to invertebrates and small mammals in a coastal sand dune ecosystem. Activity concentrations of 137Cs, 238Pu, 239+240Pu and 241Am are reported for detritivorous, herbivorous, carnivorous and omnivorous biota. Differences in activity concentrations measured in the sand dune biota are related to the trophic level of the organisms and the influence of sea-to-land transfer is apparent in the food chain transfer observed at the site. There are notable differences in the concentration ratios (CRs) calculated for the sand dune biota compared to other terrestrial ecosystems, especially for the small mammals which have CRs that are two orders of magnitude lower than the generic terrestrial ecosystem CRs published by the recent EC EURATOM ERICA project. The lower CRs at the sand dunes may be due to the influence of other cations from the marine environment (e.g. K and Na) on the net radionuclide transfer observed, but further research is required to test this hypothesis.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Science of the Total Environment
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0048-9697
Depositing User: Prof Mike Wood
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2011 10:25
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 13:36

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