Environmental fate of radiocesium in aquatic and semi-aquatic biota on the U.S. department of energy's Savannah river site
Leaphart, James Christopher
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Although studies have examined the fate of radiocesium (Cs-137) in biota due to anthropogenic contamination in ecosystems around the world, much of the current literature is limited to select trophic linkages and species. I conducted a comprehensive survey of aquatic and semi-aquatic organisms, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals, from a Cs-137 contaminated system on the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site to quantify Cs-137 activity within their body tissues. Using these data, I assessed the potential for Cs-137 biomagnification, the influence of ontogenetic shifts in Cs-137 activity between life stages of herpetofauna, and bioaccumulation rates of Cs-137 in amphibian larvae. Collectively, Cs-137 concentrations and stable isotopes were found to be highly variable among our different collective species, suggesting that biomagnification is not ubiquitous, but is instead system dependent and influenced by a variety of biotic and abiotic factors that impact contaminant uptake in exposed organisms.