Bats have been investigated for the effects of radiation in the Exclusion Zone
From 10 to 19 July 2017, on the territory of the Exclusion Zone, specialists of Kharkiv National University named after Karazin conducted field research of bats. Scientists have selected the necessary bioassays and, in laboratory conditions, will check them for the effects of radiation exposure.
The study of bats occurred on the territory of the city of Pripyat, Lake Azbuchin and the city of Chornobyl. According to scientists, these areas have different levels of pollution - from almost pre-accident levels to extremely high. Thus, these studies will not only assess the effects of radiation, but also examine the response of the organism to different radiation doses.
In the course of research, more than 100 bats from 8 species living on the territory of the Exclusion Zone were studied (in general, there are 12 species out of 17 possible). Interestingly, among the wide species diversity of bats in this area the representatives from the Red Book can be found, and among them even one of the rarest species in Europe - a greater noctule bat.
“The Exclusion Zone needs to be considered as a valuable reserve, which plays an important role in preserving rare and vulnerable species of animals”, - Serhiy Paskevych, a member of the Institute of Safety Problems at the NPP of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and candidate of biological sciences, said.
Determining the species composition and identification of habitats for bats is extremely important, as they are a priority object of environmental activity. Given the fact that there is a Chornobyl radiation and ecological biosphere reserve is to be created on the territory of the Exclusion Zone, such studies are the basis for the successful development of environmental activities here.
The conduction of the fauna researches of the bats is a logical continuation of the annual observations initiated 10 years ago.
Scientific works were carried out with the assistance of SAUEZM and with the participation of specialists from the State Research Institute “Chornobyl Center for Nuclear Safety, Radioactive Waste and Radioecology” and the Institute for Safety Problems of the NPP of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Bats are valuable representatives of the fauna of the Exclusion Zone, forming a unique component of the biodiversity of the region. The study of these mammals is one of the factors for understanding the development and condition of ecosystems that are formed in the absence of anthropogenic loading and the presence of chronic irradiation of ionizing radiation. Radioactive contamination creates unique conditions for assessing the biological effects of exposure to living organisms, where bats are a valuable model object.