It is shown that the response of rodent populations to acute and chronic irradiation depends on its functional structure, i.e., on specific features of animals with two alternative types of ontogenetic development. Upon acute irradiation, sexually immature young of the year (animals with the second type of ontogeny) are most radioresistant. Exposure to chronic irradiation, as in the zone of the Eastern Ural Radioactive Trace (EURT), leads to an increase in the proportion of mature young of the year (animals with the first type of ontogeny), which are the most radiosensitive part of the population. The abundance and fecundity of mice in the impact zone are consistently higher than in the background zone, which improves the adaptive potential of the population. The role of species ecological specialization and configuration of the contaminated zone in the formation of migrant rodent population is emphasized. It is concluded that a high migration activity allows the pigmy wood mouse (a radiosensitive species) to avoid long-term radiation exposure.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 11, 2008
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