Arthropod Community Composition at Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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.

One of the most contaminated zone sampled for arthropods

One of the most contaminated zone sampled for arthropods

Photo
Greg Lamarre

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.

A beetle (Coleoptera) found in Chernobyl temperate forest

A beetle (Coleoptera) found in Chernobyl temperate forest

Photo
Sergey Gashak
The first crucial step will be to generate a high-taxonomic resolution list of arthropod species to study how community composition and structure (species richness and abundance) may change along a soil gradient of ionizing radiation. Furthermore, I will develop and apply analytical tools in order to investigate if arthropod species that shared similar ecological and functional attributes are likely to have similar responses to radionuclide contamination. It is well-known that species that share similar functional attributes (natural history, food source, habitat…) are likely to also have a similar effect/influence on ecosystem functioning. Exploring variability in bioaccumulation of soil radionuclides in different arthropod trophic groups will allow us to envision further Lab experimentation. Our plan is to use key arthropod species as model to link radiation exposure and radionuclides bioaccumulation to biological responses among different trophic levels.
Sergey Gashak and Greg Lamarre at Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Sergey Gashak and Greg Lamarre at Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Photo
Emmanuel Lapied

Greg Lamarre,

Department of Ecology,

Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre

Czech Academy of Sciences

Branisovska 31, 37005 Ceske Budejovice

Czech Republic

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Greg_Lamarre

greglamarre973@gmail.com

Published 16. January 2017 - 10:19 - Updated 23. May 2017 - 19:10

Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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