Barnett, C.L.; Beresford, N.A.; Walker, L.A.; Baxter, M.; Wells, C.; Copplestone, D.

Element and radionuclide concentrations in representative species of the ICRP's Reference Animals and Plants and associated soils from a forest in north-west England

This dataset presents the results of an initial sampling exercise conducted at a terrestrial site in northwest England in summer 2010. The following samples of terrestrial Reference Animals and Plants (RAPs) were obtained from an area of circa 0.4 km squared: Molinia caerulea (ICRP RAP Wild Grass defined as Poaceae); Picea sitchensis (ICRP RAP Pine Tree defined as Pinaceae); Apis spp., Bombus spp., Nomada spp. (ICRP RAP Bee defined as Apidea); Apodemus sylvaticus (ICRP RAP Rat defined as Muridae); Earthworms (species in the Family Lumbricidae as defined for the ICRP RAP Earthworm); Deer (belonging to the Family Anatidae (i.e. the ICRP RAP Deer). Soil samples were also collected from throughout the sampling area. All samples were analysed for multiple elements using ICP-MS/ICP-OES and most for gamma-emitting radionuclides. Results have been used to derive biota-soil concentration ratios. The ICRP have published their framework for radiation protection of the environment (ICRP Publication 108). This describes the use of RAPs as the basis for their framework. The RAPs are generalised to the taxonomic level of Family. Publication 108 presented dose coefficient values for the selected RAPs and also reviewed data on the effects of ionising radiation to suggest Derived Consideration Reference Levels for each RAP. In summer 2010 the ICRP released a further report on their protection framework for consultation. This report presented transfer parameter values (organism-media concentration ratios) for Reference Animals and Plants. The report also raised the possibility of identifying a series of sites where samples of each Reference Animal and Plant, and their different lifestages, could be collected and analysed. It was suggested that the resultant data would constitute a set of reference values analogous to approaches used by the ICRP for human radiological protection.

Publication date: 2013-12-31

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the data: Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Barnett, C.L.; Beresford, N.A.; Walker, L.A.; Baxter, M.; Wells, C.; Copplestone, D. (2013). Element and radionuclide concentrations in representative species of the ICRP's Reference Animals and Plants and associated soils from a forest in north-west England. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology


Study area
Temporal extent
2010-08-01    to    2011-02-28

Provenance & quality

The study site (circa 0.4 km2 in area) was located in a managed coniferous forestry plantation (c. 25 km2) in north-west England (NGR 3325 4917). It was largely a mixture of established coniferous plantation with an understory of predominantly grass and sedge species. Samples (bee, earthworm, sitka spruce, wood mouse, purple moor grass and soil) were collected from this area with the exception of Capreolus capreolus (Roe deer) which were collected from within the forest at distances of less than 2 km to the north and east of the main study site. Samples were collected between August 2010 and February 2011. The locations of all sampling sites were recorded using a hand held GPS. Biota and associated soils samples were analysed for stable element by ICP-MS by the Food and Environment Research Agency using methods accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Sub samples were analysed to determine their C and N concentrations and samples with a higher mass were also analysed for gamma emitting radionuclides by CEH using a method also accredited by UKAS. The Percentage Loss on Ignition (LOI) and pH was also determined in the soil samples. For full details relating to each sample type collected in this study, 'please refer to the Online Resource: Supporting Documentation 'Materials and Methods_ICRP_RAP'.

Supplemental information

This dataset is referenced in:

Barnett, C.L., Beresford, N.A., Walker, L.A., Baxter, M., Wells, C., & Copplestone, D. (2013). Transfer parameters for ICRP reference animals and plants collected from a forest ecosystem. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, 53(1), 125–149.
Guillén, J., Beresford, N.A., Baeza, A., Izquierdo, M., Wood, M.D., Salas, A., … Muñoz-Muñoz, J.G. (2018). Transfer parameters for ICRP’s Reference Animals and Plants in a terrestrial Mediterranean ecosystem. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 186, 9–22.

Correspondence/contact details

Cath Barnett
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Lancaster Environment Centre, Library Avenue, Bailrigg
LA1 4AP Lancaster


Barnett, C.L.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Beresford, N.A.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Walker, L.A.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Baxter, M.
The Food and Environment Research Agency
Wells, C.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Copplestone, D.
University of Stirling

Other contacts

NERC EDS Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre
Rights Holder
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Biota , Environment
bee,  chemical analysis,  COMET,  Cumbria deer,  earthworm,  grass,  ICRP RAP,  mice,  natural radioactivity,  pine tree,  Pollution radioecology,  Radioecology radionuclide,  Soil,  TREE,  United Kingdom
Environmental Monitoring Facilities
Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
Last updated
25 June 2021 18:44