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The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986 released vast amounts of radioactive material over an area of 200,000 km2 in eastern and central Europe, affecting all living organisms. The biological impacts including the conservation consequences of this event are still poorly known even 25 years after the disaster. Here we assess the effects of this environmental disaster for conservation by focusing on two connected questions addressing the short-term ecological and the long-term evolutionary consequences: First, we pose the question of whether rare species are more impacted by radiation than common species? Second, what are the conservation consequences of elevated mutation rates due to the...
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Measurements indicating abundance of radioactive elements in near-surface rocks. Grids and flight-line data from surveys flown 1976-1980.