Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 156, Supplement 1, pp 297-305

First online:

Cumulative effects of radioactivity from Fukushima on the abundance and biodiversity of birds

  • A. P. MøllerAffiliated withLaboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution, CNRS UMR 8079, Université Paris-Sud Email author 
  • , I. NishiumiAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, National Museum of Nature and Science
  • , T. A. MousseauAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of South CarolinaDepartment of Environmental Biology, Biosciences, and Biotechnology, Chubu University

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Species differ in their susceptibility to radiation because of differences in their ability to sustain toxic and genetic effects caused by radiation. We censused breeding birds in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, during 2011-2014 to test whether the abundance and diversity of birds became increasingly negatively affected by radiation over time. The abundance of birds decreased with increasing levels of background radiation, with significant interspecific variation. Even though levels of background radiation decreased over time, the relationship between abundance and radiation became more negative over time. The relationship between abundance and radiation became less negative with increasing trophic levels. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that the negative effects of radiation on abundance and species richness accumulate over time.


Birds Chernobyl Fukushima Radiation resistance