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PLOS ONE  2014 

Salmon Migration Patterns Revealed the Temporal and Spatial Fluctuations of the Radiocesium Levels in Terrestrial and Ocean Environments

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100779

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Abstract:

The disabling of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (F1NPP) resulted in the release of radionuclides, including 134Cs and 137Cs, into the air and the ocean. The unpredicted nuclear accident is of global concern for human health and the ecosystem. Although investigations of radionuclides in environments were performed shortly after the accident started, the temporal and spatial impacts and fluctuations on the releasing radionuclides to natural environment remain unclear. I focused on salmon, which migrate from inland to the open ocean globally, to reveal the three-year (May 2011 to February 2014) fluctuations and accumulations of 134Cs and 137Cs from terrestrial to open ocean environments after the F1NPP accident. The 134Cs and 137Cs concentrations in six salmonids exhibited lower temporal variations for three years after the F1NPP accident, suggesting that these radionuclides are widely distributed and these radionuclides remain in the natural environment globally with less convergence. The accumulation patterns were significantly different among the different salmon species. Fluvial (freshwater residence) type salmons exhibited significantly higher accumulation in 134Cs (25.3–40.2 Bq kg?1 in mean) and 137Cs (41.4–51.7 Bq kg?1 in mean) than did the anadromous (sea-run) type salmons (0.64–8.03 Bq kg?1 in mean 134Cs and 0.42–10.2 Bq kg?1 in mean 137Cs) suggesting widespread contamination in terrestrial environments versus the coastal and open ocean environments. Salmonids are the most highly migratory animals and are characterised by their strong tendency to return home to their natal site for reproduction. Salmonids have a potential to be a good indicator as an effective monitoring animal.

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