Evaluating summarised radionuclide concentration ratio datasets for wildlife

Wood, M.D.; Beresford, N.A.; Howard, B.J.; Copplestone, D.. 2013 Evaluating summarised radionuclide concentration ratio datasets for wildlife. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 126. 314-325.

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Concentration ratios (CRwo-media) are used in most radioecological models to predict 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 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 appropriate summary statistics. This method is applied to terrestrial datasets from the WTD. Statistically significant differences in sub-category CRwo-media values were identified, which may justify the use of these CRwo-media 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: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health > BGC - 3.2 - Provide the evidence base for setting Environment Quality Standards ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL provides full text
Additional Keywords: radioecology, radionuclide transfer, statistical analysis, geometric statistic, lognormal distribution, environmental assessment, model parameter
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 17 Dec 2013 11:43 +0 (UTC)

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