Merete Myromslien


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A series of 131I tracer experiments have been conducted at two research stations in Norway, one coastal and one inland to study radioiodine transfer and dynamics in boreal, agricultural ecosystems. The hypothesis tested was that site specific and climatological factors, along with growth stage, would influence foliar uptake of 131I by grass and its subsequent loss. Results showed that the interception fraction varied widely, ranging from 0.007 to 0.83 over all experiments, and showing a strong positive correlation with biomass and stage of growth. The experimental results were compared to various models currently used to predict interception fractions and weathering loss. Results provided by interception models varied in the range of 0.5–2 times of the observed values. Regarding weathering loss, it was demonstrated that double exponential models provided a better fit with the experimental results than single exponential models. Normalising the data activity per unit area to remove bio-dilution effects, and assuming a constant single loss rate gave weathering half-times of 22.8 ± 38.3 and 10.2 ± 8.2 days for the inland and coastal site, respectively. Whilst stable iodine concentrations in grass and soil were significantly higher (by approximately a factor of 5 and 7 times for grass and soil respectively) at the coastal compared to the inland site, it was not possible to deconvolute the influence of this factor on the temporal behaviour of 131I. Nonetheless, stable iodine data allowed us to establish an upper bound on the soil to plant transfer of radioiodine via root uptake and to establish that the pathway was of minor importance in defining 131I activity concentrations in grass compared to direct contamination via interception. Climatological factors (precipitation, wind-speed and temperature) appeared to affect the dynamics of 131I in the system, however the decomposition of these collective influences into specific contributions from each factor remains unresolved and requires further study. The newly acquired data on the interception and weathering of radioiodine in boreal, agricultural ecosystems and the reparametrized models developed from this, substantially improve the toolbox available for Norwegian emergency preparedness in the event of a nuclear accident.


Increasing abundance of Juncus effusus (soft rush) and Juncus conglomeratus (compact rush) in pastures and meadows in western Norway has caused reductions in forage yield and quality in recent decades. Understanding plant development and regrowth following cutting is essential in devising cost-effective means to control rushes. In a field experiment in western Norway, we investigated development of above- and below-ground fractions of rush from seedlings to three-year-old plants, including the impact on vigour of disturbing growth by different cutting frequencies during the period 2009–2012. Each year, the plants were exposed to one or two annual cuts or left untreated and five destructive samplings were performed from March to early December. Juncus effusus showed significantly more vigorous growth than Juncus conglomeratus in the last two years of the study period. The above-ground:below-ground biomass ratio of both species increased mainly in spring and early summer and was reduced in late summer and autumn. Removal of aerial shoots also reduced the below-ground fraction of both species. One annual cut in July effectively reduced biomass production in both species by 30–82%, which was only a slightly smaller reduction than with two annual cuts, in June and August. Mechanical control measures such as cutting can thus effectively reduce rush vigour when performed late in the growing season.