Final Radioecology paper

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The final exam for this class will actually be a short final paper.  This paper will be a review of the article by Geras'kin (2016) centered around the questions posed in the highlighted portions of the annotated paper that is provided below (and written out below).  This paper will be due by Midnight on Thursday, December 6th.

Highlighted and commented article by Geras'kin (1).pdfPreview the document

Here are the specific sections of text that were highlighted, and my question to you:

  • Page 347: "It is well known that effects of radiation initially appear at the molecular level. However, this knowledge cannot be directly extrapolated to populations and ecosystems since much more complex underlying mechanisms are involved in their response to stress" 

Question: Why do you think this statement might be important?

  • Page 349: "However, temporal pattern of ecological succession in post-irradiated ecosystems is peculiar. For example, 47 years after cessation of irradiation of a mixed oak-pine forest (Brookhaven National Laboratory, the USA), we might have expected a recover of the climax, pre-irradiation community."

Question: What might be the implications for recovery of large areas impacted by radioactive contamination?

  • Page 350: "Radiation effects in ecosystems depend on radiosensitivity of species and the distribution of absorbed doses within an ecosystem. However, dose distributions among components of an ecosystem are fundamentally different for external exposure and radioactive fallout (Table 3). As a consequence, doses absorbed by species, may vary by several orders of magnitude even when they are all present in the same environment at the same time. In particular, deposition of b-emitting radionuclides onto critical plant
    tissues results in larger doses received by plants than animals living in the same environment"

Question: How does this observation challenge the statement 'if you protect man you protect the environment'?

  • Page 354: "The current approach to environmental protection from radiation relies on organismal-level endpoints (Environmental Protection …, 2008), and this approach is not matched by the stated protection goals of the international agencies: reserving life sustainability through protection of ecosystem structure and functioning." 

Question:  Do you agree or disagree with this discussion point? Explain.

  • Page 355 "Nowadays any release of radionuclides or a radiation accident, like at the Fukushima NPP, takes place at the time when many natural ecosystems have already been under pressure by habitat destruction, invasive species, and the chemical pollution. In such a situation the effects of radiation exposure may become more harmful and lead to emergence of adverse effects at the lower levels of radioactive contamination."

Question: Do you agree or disagree with this point? If true, how might this effect how environmental radiation protection guidance is developed?

Note that to see the comments and annotations, you will need to download this file and open it with some pdf viewing software (such as Adobe).

Here are the guidelines for the paper:

- Typed

- Minimum of 5 pages and a maximum of 10 pages

- Font no bigger than 12 point

- Spacing no larger than double

Tags: ecology
Answers 1

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