Nearly 20 years ago Reactor number 4 at Chernobyl exploded, sending radiation across a large region of what is now the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Some 40 radionucleotides were released into the environment, including Strontium 90 (90Sr) and Cesium 137 (137Cs). Yet despite radiation levels dangerous to humans, most natural areas in the region have rebounded, and by ecological standards, are functioning normally. The session, organized by James Morris and Timothy Mousseau (University of South Carolina, US) will reveal how the environment has responded -- from genetic mutation rates, to plant and animal communities, to nutrient cycling.
Sergey Gaschak (International Radioecology Laboratory, Ukraine) will open the session with his presentation, "Determinants of levels of 90Sr and 137Cs in birds in Chernobyl." Studying 228 birds of 23 different species captured in Chernobyl, Gaschak and colleagues from the University of South Carolina (US) and University Pierre et Marie Curie (France) measured the birds' levels of radioactive strontium and radioactive cesium, comparing migrating populations with those that remain in the area, as well as examining age, sex, and nesting preferences to determine the amounts and types of radiation accumulating in the birds. In the presentation, Gaschak will discuss how quantities of 90Sr and 137Cs vary with feeding, nesting and migration habits.
Timothy Mousseau will present "Consequences of radiation for reproduction and survival of barn swallows Hirundo rustica from Chernobyl." Barn swallows are long-distance migratory birds, which nest across Europe, providing researchers with numerous populations to sample. Examining swallows from the Chernobyl region and Kanev, southeast of Kiev, Mousseau and his colleague, Anders Moller (Laboratorie de Parasitologie Evolutive, France), found reproductive success was significantly reduced for the Chernobyl-nesting birds. Survival rates, number of eggs laid, and overall body coPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Annie Drinkard
Ecological Society of America
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