|SREL Reprint #0664|
Thermal Ecology Research at the Savannah River Plant: A Review
W. Gibbons, R. R. Sharitz, and I. L. Brisbin, Jr.
The U. S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River
Plant (SRP) near Aiken, S.C., provides a unique situation for studying the
environmental effects and phenomena associated with high-temperature effluents
from nuclear production reactors. A
plethora of thermal situations can be found at the site, including reservoirs
and streams with surface temperatures above 60°C, moderately warmed
swamps and lakes, aquatic areas that have received hot water continually for 25
yr, and major post-thermal-recovery areas of differing ages.
This article discusses numerous thermal studies conducted at the SRP in
the past decade by ecologists, especially those associated with the University
of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL).
The research on the flora and fauna of the region has revealed both
expected and unexpected properties of the biological characteristics of
individuals, populations, and communities.
The studies have dealt with a number of subjects, including metabolism,
thermal tolerance, genetics, dispersal, species diversity, productivity, growth
and development, and the synergistic effects of temperature and other forms of
SREL Reprint #0664
Gibbons, J.W., R.R. Sharitz, and I.L. Brisbin Jr. 1980.
Thermal ecology research at the Savannah River Plant: a
review. Nuclear Safety 21:367-379.