Understanding how ecological communities are assembled and structured remain a major challenge among ecologists. For the most diverse terrestrial group, namely arthropod, we have hardly scratched the surface in our attempt to quantify community composition and structure in addition to how communities will shift with environmental changes. In Chernobyl, we will take advantage of our field experience in community ecology from tropical rainforests, We will explore how arthropod community composition may shift along a strong gradient of soil contamination. Chernobyl accident created an unprecedented environment with uneven distribution of radioactivity. In addition, it excluded human presence and activities from the area for the last 30 years. Surprisingly, standardized collection of arthropod communities has not been proposed so far.
A new collaboration with the Czech Academy of Sciences, Charles University of Prague, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and the Center of Environmental Radioactivity (CERAD) propose: 1) a first standardized collection of soil arthropod communities along a gradient of soil contamination by radionuclides within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and 2) to explore a potential bioaccumulation of soil radionuclides into contrasted arthropod functional groups.
Department of Ecology,
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre
Czech Academy of Sciences
Branisovska 31, 37005 Ceske Budejovice