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Radioecology Laboratory Research

Laboratory

Recent experimental activities have investigated the effect of the phylogeny on the bioaccumulation characteristics in fishes, with a particular focus on the cartilagenous fishes that have received less attention than their evolutionary cousins, the bony fishes. These studies have also compared their early stages in the bioaccumulation capacities for a range of elemental contaminants, and also the potential radiological significance of their contrasting bioaccumulation capacities. These comparative bioaccumulation studies have also been extended to collaborative investigations on cephalopods and sponges. These investigations are also relevant to assessing the capacity of such organisms to act as biomonitors of elemental contaminants.

The impacts of climate change on the oceans will include both temperature increases, combines with reducing pH and carbonate levels. There is a current emphasis on experimental and field assessment of the effects of these factors on biogeochemical cycling, calcification rates and the bioaccumulation of co-occurring contaminants in marine biota.

Sinking particles are the major vehicle for exporting carbon and associated elements including radionuclides from the sea surface to the ocean interior. The removal or export of carbon from the surface ocean is partly replenished by drawndown of atmospheric CO2. Thus, the knowledge of export production and its variability is important for assessing the role of the world’s oceans in sequestering atmospheric CO2 as well as to understand the biogeochemical cycle of elements.

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