Research: Rat snake is a practical “biological indicator” that shows the level of radiation in the soil around Fukushima
The idea of using snakes to track radiation levels around Fukushima came from a team of researchers at the University of Georgia. They were attracted to this particular species for several key reasons. In Japan, rat snakes are abundant snakes and usually move within short distances, which makes them tend to accumulate high levels of radionuclides. This limited range of movement, continued close contact with the soil, and the tendency to absorb radioactive materials make them useful “biological indicators” of residual pollution in the area.
The author of the research paper James C. Beasley pointed out: “Snakes are a good indicator of environmental pollution because they stay in and in the soil for a long time. Their range of activities is very small and in most ecological The system is the main predator, and they are usually relatively long-lived species.”
It is understood that the research team captured 9 rat snakes and wrapped tape around their bodies, and then used Super glue sticks the GPS and VHF transmitters to them so that they can be easily removed from them later. Researchers tracked the crawling process of these animals in the restricted area, although most animals did not move very far, moving an average of 65 meters per day.
After more than a month of tracking, In total, the scientists identified 1,718 different locations. Their analysis showed that rat snakes can be used as a useful biological indicator of pollution because they found that there is a strong correlation between the level of radioactive cesium in rat snakes and the level of radiation in the soil where they frequent.
“Our research results show that animal behavior has a significant impact on radiation exposure and pollutant accumulation,” said research paper author Hanna Gerke. “Researching how specific animals use contaminated landscapes can help We deepen our understanding of the environmental impact of major nuclear accidents such as Fukushima and Chernobyl.”