Towards an ecological modelling approach for assessing ionizing radiation impact on wildlife populations

Jordi Vives i Batlle, Geert Biermans, David Copplestone, Alexander I. Kryshev, A. Melintescu, Carmel E. Mothersilla, Tatiana Sazykina, Colin B. Seymour, Michael D. Wood, K. Smith

    Research outputpeer-review


    The emphasis of the international system of radiological protection of the environment is to protect populations of flora and fauna. Throughout the MODARIA programmes, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has facilitated knowledge sharing, data gathering and model development on the effect of radiation on wildlife. We present a summary of the achievements of MODARIA I and II on wildlife dose effect modelling, extending to a new sensitivity analysis and model development to incorporate other stressors. We reviewed evidence on historical doses and transgenerational effects on wildlife from radioactively contaminated areas. We also evaluated chemical population modelling approaches, discussing similarities and differences between chemical and radiological impact assessment in wildlife. We developed population modelling methodologies by sourcing life history and radiosensitivity data and evaluating the available models, leading to the formulation of an ecosystem-based mathematical approach. This resulted in an ecologically relevant conceptual population model, which we used to produce advice on the evaluation of risk criteria used in the radiological protection of the environment and a proposed modelling extension for chemicals. This work seeks to inform stakeholder dialogue on factors influencing wildlife population responses to radiation, including discussions on the ecological relevance of current environmental protection criteria. The area of assessment of radiation effects in wildlife is still developing with underlying data and models continuing to be improved. IAEA’s ongoing support to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge, models and approaches to Member States is highlighted, and we give suggestions for future developments in this regard.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number0205507
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Radiological protection
    StatePublished - 25 Apr 2022

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