SREL Reprint #0664




Thermal Ecology Research at the Savannah River Plant: A Review

J. 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 environmental stress.


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.

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