Ecotracer: analyzing concentration of contaminants and radioisotopes in an aquatic spatial-dynamic food web model

William J. Walters, Villy Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ecotracer is a tool in the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) software package used to simulate and analyze the transport of contaminants such as methylmercury or radiocesium through aquatic food webs. Ecotracer solves the contaminant dynamic equations simultaneously with the biomass dynamic equations in Ecosim/Ecospace. In this paper, we give a detailed description of the Ecotracer module and analyze the performance on two problems of differing complexity. Ecotracer was modified from previous versions to more accurately model contaminant excretion, and new numerical integration algorithms were implemented to increase accuracy and robustness. To test the mathematical robustness of the computational algorithm, Ecotracer was tested on a simple problem for which we know an analytical solution. These results demonstrated the effectiveness of the program numerics. A much more complex model, the release of the cesium radionuclide 137Cs from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, was also modeled and analyzed. A comparison of the Ecotracer results to sampled 137Cs measurements in the coastal ocean area around Fukushima show the promise of the tool but also highlight some important limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-127
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Volume181
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

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Food Chain
Radioisotopes
food web
radionuclide
Radioactive Hazard Release
Impurities
Cesium
pollutant
Program Evaluation
Oceans and Seas
Biomass
nuclear accident
Software
cesium
methylmercury
Software packages
excretion
Accidents
software
biomass

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

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abstract = "Ecotracer is a tool in the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) software package used to simulate and analyze the transport of contaminants such as methylmercury or radiocesium through aquatic food webs. Ecotracer solves the contaminant dynamic equations simultaneously with the biomass dynamic equations in Ecosim/Ecospace. In this paper, we give a detailed description of the Ecotracer module and analyze the performance on two problems of differing complexity. Ecotracer was modified from previous versions to more accurately model contaminant excretion, and new numerical integration algorithms were implemented to increase accuracy and robustness. To test the mathematical robustness of the computational algorithm, Ecotracer was tested on a simple problem for which we know an analytical solution. These results demonstrated the effectiveness of the program numerics. A much more complex model, the release of the cesium radionuclide 137Cs from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, was also modeled and analyzed. A comparison of the Ecotracer results to sampled 137Cs measurements in the coastal ocean area around Fukushima show the promise of the tool but also highlight some important limitations.",
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N2 - Ecotracer is a tool in the Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) software package used to simulate and analyze the transport of contaminants such as methylmercury or radiocesium through aquatic food webs. Ecotracer solves the contaminant dynamic equations simultaneously with the biomass dynamic equations in Ecosim/Ecospace. In this paper, we give a detailed description of the Ecotracer module and analyze the performance on two problems of differing complexity. Ecotracer was modified from previous versions to more accurately model contaminant excretion, and new numerical integration algorithms were implemented to increase accuracy and robustness. To test the mathematical robustness of the computational algorithm, Ecotracer was tested on a simple problem for which we know an analytical solution. These results demonstrated the effectiveness of the program numerics. A much more complex model, the release of the cesium radionuclide 137Cs from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, was also modeled and analyzed. A comparison of the Ecotracer results to sampled 137Cs measurements in the coastal ocean area around Fukushima show the promise of the tool but also highlight some important limitations.

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