Nuclear reprocessing-related radiocarbon (14C) uptake into UK marine mammals

Tierney, K. M. et al. (2017) Nuclear reprocessing-related radiocarbon (14C) uptake into UK marine mammals. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 124(1), pp. 43-50. (doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.07.002) (PMID:28693808)

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To evaluate the transfer of Sellafield-derived radiocarbon (14C) to top predators in the UK marine environment, 14C activities were examined in stranded marine mammals. All samples of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) obtained from the Irish Sea showed 14C enrichment above background. Mammal samples obtained from the West of Scotland, including harbour porpoise, grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) showed 14C enrichment but to a lesser extent. This study demonstrates, for the first time, enriched 14C is transferred through the marine food web to apex predators as a consequence of ongoing nuclear reprocessing activities at Sellafield. Total Sellafield 14C discharge activity 24 months prior to stranding and, in particular, distance of animal stranding site from Sellafield are significant variables affecting individual 14C activity. 14C activities of West of Scotland harbour porpoises suggest they did not forage in the Irish Sea prior to stranding, indicating a high foraging fidelity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council UK NE/L000202/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:ten Doeschate, Mariel and Cook, Professor Gordon and Brownlow, Dr Andrew and Xu, Dr Sheng and Tierney, Dr Kieran and Muir, Dr Graham and MacKinnon, Dr Gillian and Davison, Mr Nick
Authors: Tierney, K. M., Muir, G. K.P., Cook, G. T., Heymans, J. J., MacKinnon, G., Howe, J. A., Xu, S., Brownlow, A., Davison, N. J., ten Doeschate, M., and Deaville, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Pollution Bulletin
ISSN (Online):1879-3363
Published Online:08 July 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Marine Pollution Bulletin 124(1): 43-50
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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