Ecological half-life (Te) is a useful measure for studying the long-term decline of contaminants, such as radionuclides, in natural systems. The current investigation determined levels of radiocesium (137Cs) in two aquatic (Polygonum punctatum, Sagittaria latifolia) and three terrestrial (Alnus serrulata, Myrica cerifera, Salix nigra) plant species from a contaminated stream and floodplain on the U.S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site. Current 137Cs levels in plants were used in conjunction with historical data to determine Te of 137Cs in each species. Median concentrations of 137Cs were highest in S. latifolia (0.84Bqg-1) and lowest in M. cerifera (0.10Bqg-1). Te's ranged from 4.85yr in M. cerifera to 8.35yr in S. nigra, both terrestrial species. Te's for all aquatic (6.30yr) and all terrestrial (5.87) species combined were very similar. The Te's of the two aquatic primary producers (P. punctatum and S. latifolia) in the Steel Creek ecosystem were somewhat longer than Te values previously reported for some consumers from this ecosystem.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis