|SREL Reprint #0983|
Declines In Radiocesium of Two Sympatric Snake Populations
Bagshaw and I. L. Brisbin Jr
of nuclear production reactors between 1961-70 on the Department of Energy
Savannah River Plant near Aiken, South Carolina have resulted in releases of
radiocesium into a reactor effluent stream and swamp ecosystem.
Determinations of whole-body burdens of radiocesium were made in 1971,
1976 and 1980 for Elaphe obsoleta and Nerodia taxispilota
inhabiting this effluent stream and near-by uncontaminated habitats.
difference could be detected in the overall rates at which average radiocesium
body burdens decreased over time in the two snake species inhabiting the
effluent stream. However, while a
linear model using natural-log transformed data adequately described this
decrease in radiocesium body burden in Elaphe, such a linear model was
not adequate to describe the decrease in Nerodia.
Radiocesium concentrations of both species in uncontaminated areas were
as much as two orders of magnitude lower than those of snakes from the
contaminated habitat. The
persistence of radiocesium in these snakes is discussed in terms of ecological
SREL Reprint #0983
Bagshaw, C. and I.L. Brisbin Jr. 1984. Long-term declines in
radiocesium of two sympatric snake populations. Journal of Applied Ecology