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How to Survive a Nuclear Environment: Examining the Relationship Between Habitat Interaction and Long-Term Species Success in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Claire Allen
Claire Allen
Faculty Advisor(s)

Understanding how animals have survived and adapted to living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is vital to understanding our impacts on the natural world and the resulting consequences. Questions remain about the long-term impacts of radiation exposure on the wildlife surrounding the plant. A species’ size, diet, and range impact the ability to survive and thrive in an irradiated environment are the main variables examined in this essay. Animal body size may limit the buildup of radiation.  Diet is dependent on the availability of prey animals, and the ingested food could have an effect on the amount of radiation an individual is exposed to. Finally, range size is likely the most important attribute for allowing a species’ continued survival in a contaminated habitat.  Interestingly, it appears that human species has more of a negative impact on the abundance of species than the radiation exposure itself.

Project Media

Claire Allen is Environmental Studies and Religious Studies double major, who is working towards a career in the non-profit sector. As an Air Force brat who had the opportunity to travel the US as a child, Claire gained an appreciation for the diverse wildernesses the world has to offer, and wants to join the fight to protect the earth's natural beauty!



I'm old enough to remember that "Oh, it was just a small accident" event; I wasn't far from Three Mile Island during its "small accident", too. I can't wait to see what you've discovered.

Submitted by Paula_Young on Tue, 04/13/2021 - 20:05 Permalink

Congratulations, Claire! Your thoughts that humans are more dangerous than radiation exposure are quite impactful. 

I look forward to the Q & A session & learning more from you. 

Job well done! 

Submitted by susanharding on Wed, 04/14/2021 - 21:53 Permalink

Great work, Claire! Such important work in today's world and really appreciate your insights!

Submitted by Amy Rio on Thu, 04/15/2021 - 18:23 Permalink