Chernobyl radiation reduced population of birds with orange plumage: Study

April 27th, 2011 - 12:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr 27 (ANI): The population of birds with an orange plumage was reduced as they suffered radiation effects from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, according to a study.

Ismael Galvan, a researcher at the Laboratory of Ecology, Systematics and Evolution at the University of Paris-Sur in France said the study concentrated on bird coloring generated by melanins, pigments that protect from ultraviolet radiation and generate camouflage patterns.

“The impact on the populations depends, at least in part, on the amount of plumage whose colouring is generated by pheomelanin, one of the two main types of melanins, which produces orangish and brownish colours,” Galvan said.

The birds of Chernobyl with the most plumage colored by pheomelanin, orange and brown birds were the “most negatively” affected by Chernobyl’s radioactivity, he added.

The researchers theorize that because the pigment consumes glutathione, an antioxidant most susceptible to being diminished by radiation, the birds’ capacity to combat the oxidative stress generated by radiation is reduced.

The study has been published in the journal Oecologia. (ANI)

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