ISSN 10674136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2011, Vol. 42, No. 4, pp. 288–295. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2011.
Original Russian Text © P.N. Korablev, M.P. Korablev, N.P. Korablev, 2011, published in Ekologiya, 2011, No. 4, pp. 272–279.
Integrated assessment of the state of ecosystems in
zones of impact from nuclear power plants (NPPs) by
analyzing the responses of ecosystems to the entire set
of NPP effects on the environment is of utmost impor
tance in terms of the safety of human populations and
the use of natural products in the vicinity of normally
Health assessment among human residents of these
areas would be a maximally integrated approach.
However, this entails a number of difficulties with
interpretation of the possible causes of the observed
disorders, where socioeconomic, psychological, ethi
cal, and other characteristics of human populations
may play a role. Therefore, it may be more appropriate
to study wild mammal populations, which are more
closely connected to the natural environment. Their
response to environmental changes is comparable to
that of human populations, but it is much more rapid.
The rate of generation change in predatory mammals
is 10–15 times higher than in humans. Therefore, the
study of mammal populations allows unfavorable
changes in the quality of the environment to be
detected before human residents living near an NPP
respond to them. Estimation of the state of the domi
nant mammal species that are at the end of the food
chain allows more detailed characterization of the
quality of the environment (with the main biotopes
and sets of factors taken into account) on the most
socially demanded scale.
While the estimation of the state of the population of
one species provides indirect evidence on the quality of
its environment, a combined analysis of several species
yields integrated information on the state of natural
environment, data on each species making their specific
contribution to the generalized estimate. For example,
the American mink, a typical semiaquatic predator,
characterizes the quality of aquatic ecosystems; the
polecat, that of riparian and anthropogenically altered
areas; the marten, that of forested areas; the fox, that of
open areas and farmlands; and the raccoon dog, that of
waterlogged areas and shrub woodland.
The purpose of this study was to estimate the state of
five dominant species of predatory mammals in the
impact zone of the Kalinin NPP on the basis of com
parative analysis of their phene pools in Udomlya raion
(near the NPP) and more remote raions of Tver oblast.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
We performed a detailed phenetic analysis of 1120
skulls of predatory mammals of five species. In Udom
lya raion of Tver oblast (where the Kalinin NPP is
located), we collected 708 skulls, including those of
the American mink (
, 127 skulls), pole
, 52 skulls), pine marten (
, 169 skulls), red fox (
, 73 skulls),
and raccoon dog (
skulls). This material was compared with the skulls
collected in the districts surrounding the Central For
est Reserve (Nelidovo, Olenino, and Andreapol’
raions) and Toropets raion of Tver oblast. The distance
between Udomlya raion and the control areas was
about 250 km (Fig. 1).
The skulls were characterized on the basis of non
metric variants (phenes) of craniological characters.
One group of characters (from 8 to 14 in different spe
The State of Predatory Mammal Populations in the Impact Zone
of the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant as Inferred from Their Phene Pool
P. N. Korablev
, M. P. Korablev
, and N. P. Korablev
Central Forest State Biosphere Reserve, Nelidovskii raion, Tver oblast, 172513 Russia; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninskii pr. 33, Moscow, 117071 Russia
Velikie Luki State Agricultural Academy, pl. Lenina 1, Velikie Luki, Pskov oblast, 182100 Russia
Receved May 6, 2010
—The states of the populations of five dominant species of predatory mammals living in the area
affected by the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and in remote districts of Tver’ oblast have been com
pared. A total of 1120 skulls, including 708 skulls from the vicinity of the NPP, have been examined. The data
on parameters characterizing similarities between the samples, the degree and structure of intrapopulation
diversity, and ontogenetic stability suggest with a high probability that the Kalinin NPP has no effect on wild
populations of predatory mammals.
: predatory mammals, phene pool, nuclear power plant.