Ecological mechanisms can modify radiation effects in a key forest mammal of Chernobyl
Mappes, T., Boratynski, Z., Kivisaari, K., Lavrinienko, A., Milinevsky, G., Mousseau, T. A., Møller, A. P., Tukalenko, E., & Watts, P. (2019). Ecological mechanisms can modify radiation effects in a key forest mammal of Chernobyl. Ecosphere, 10(4), Article e02667. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2667
© 2019 The Authors.
Nuclear accidents underpin the need to quantify the ecological mechanisms which determine injury to ecosystems from chronic low‐dose radiation. Here, we tested the hypothesis that ecological mechanisms interact with ionizing radiation to affect natural populations in unexpected ways. We used large‐scale replicated experiments and food manipulations in wild populations of the rodent, Myodes glareolus, inhabiting the region near the site of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. We show linear decreases in breeding success with increasing ambient radiation levels with no evidence of any threshold below which effects are not seen. Food supplementation of experimental populations resulted in increased abundances but only in locations where radioactive contamination was low (i.e., below ≈ 1 μSv/h). In areas with higher contamination, food supplementation showed no detectable effects. These findings suggest that chronic low‐dose‐rate irradiation can decrease the stability of populations of key forest species, and these effects could potentially scale to broader community changes with concomitant consequences for the ecosystem functioning of forests impacted by nuclear accidents. ...
PublisherEcological Society of America
Publication in research information system
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingWe gratefully acknowledge logistic support and help in Ukraine by Igor Chizhevsky and the Chernobyl EcoCenter. This study was financially supported by Academy of Finland grants to TM (268670) and PCW (287153), Emil Aaltonen Foundation and Oskar Oflund Foundation to KK, the postdoctoral grantee from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (RH/BPD/84822/2012) to ZB, and the Graduate School of the University of Oulu to AL. Additional support was provided by the CNRS (France), the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, the Fulbright Program, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Authors after the first author are listed in alphabetical order. TM, ZB, KK, AL, GM, TAM, APM, ET, and PCW designed the study and contributed to acquisition of field data and experiments; TM carried out the statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript; TM, ZB, KK, AL, GM, TAM, APM, ET, and PCW contributed to writing the manuscript and gave final approval for publication. The authors declare no competing financial interests. ...
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