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Application of an ecosystem model to evaluate the importance of different processes and food web structure for transfer of 13 elements in a shallow lake
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Number of Authors: 4
2017 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, ISSN 0265-931X, E-ISSN 1879-1700, Vol. 169, 85-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In environmental risk assessments of nuclear waste, there is need to estimate the potential risks of a large number of radionuclides over a long time period during which the environment is likely to change. Usually concentration ratios (CRs) are used to calculate the activity concentrations in organisms. However, CRs are not available for all radionuclides and they are not easily scalable to the varying environment. Here, an ecosystem transport model of elements, which estimates concentrations in organisms using carbon flows and food transfer instead of CR is presented. It is a stochastic compartment model developed for Lake Eckarfjarden at Forsmark in Sweden. The model was based on available data on carbon circulation, physical and biological processes from the site and identifies 11 functional groups of organisms. The ecosystem model was used to estimate the environmental transfer of 13 elements (Al, Ca, Cd, CI, Cs, I, Ni, Nb, Pb, Se, Sr, Th, U) to various aquatic organisms, using element-specific distribution coefficients for suspended particles (K-d PM) and upper sediment (K-d sed), and subsequent transfer in the foodweb. The modelled CRs for different organism groups were compared with measured CRs from the lake and literature data, and showed good agreement for many elements and organisms, particularly for lower trophic levels. The model is, therefore, proposed as an alternative to measured CR, though it is suggested to further explore active uptake, assimilation and elimination processes to get better correspondence for some of the elements. The benthic organisms (i.e. bacteria, microphytobenthos and macroalgae) were identified as more important than pelagic organisms for transfer of elements to top predators. The element transfer model revealed that most of the radionuclides were channelled through the microbial loop, despite the fact that macroalgae dominated the carbon fluxes in this lake. Thus, element-specific adsorption of elements to the surface of aquatic species, that may be food sources for organisms at higher trophic levels, needs to be considered in combination with generic processes described by carbon fluxes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 169, 85-97 p.
Keyword [en]
Concentration ratio, Bioaccumulation, Model, Lake, Risk assessment, Food web
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143625DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.12.016ISI: 000398752300011PubMedID: 28110115OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143625DiVA: diva2:1103304
Available from: 2017-05-30 Created: 2017-05-30 Last updated: 2017-05-30Bibliographically approved

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