A1 Journal article (refereed)
Ecological mechanisms can modify radiation effects in a key forest mammal of Chernobyl (2019)

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

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Mappes, Tapio; Boratynski, Zbigniew; Kivisaari, Kati; Lavrinienko, Anton; Milinevsky, Gennadi; Mousseau, Timothy A.; Møller, Anders P.; Tukalenko, Eugene; Watts, Phillip

Journal or series: Ecosphere

ISSN: 2150-8925

eISSN: 2150-8925

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 10

Issue number: 4

Article number: e02667

Publisher: Ecological Society of America

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2667

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/63571


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.

Keywords: radiation; ionising radiation; forest ecosystems; nuclear accidents

Free keywords: Chernobyl; chronic radiation; food supplementation; forest ecosystem; ionizing radiation; key species; Myodes vole; nuclear accident; population increase; population sensitivity; reproductive success

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-09-08 at 13:52