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#ChenobylFrogs16 Day 1 Uppsala to Kiev
I am finally at Kiev’s (Boryspil) Airport Hotel after completing the first leg of the trip to study the effects of chronic low-dose radiation in Chernobyl’s treefrogs (Hyla arborea). All the equipment arrived without any damage, which is a good first relief, although not before paying more for additional luggage costs for than from the flying ticket itself…

Tomorrow, I will meet with our colleague here, Sergey Gaschak, director of the Radioecology lab at the Chronobyl Research Centre. He will be my guide here, and as one of the best (if not the absolute best) experts in Chernobyl’s wildlife, I can not be in safer hands. I will also meet my colleagues from the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, lead by Nele Horemans, and that came here to look for radiation effects on Arabidopsis. We are all part of a large European Union funded project in radioecology: COMET (COrdination and iMplementation of a pan-Europe instrumenT for radioecology).

The plan for tomorrow is entering finally in Chernobyl territory, into the Exclusion Zone (also known as the Alienation Zone, which is quite a name, isn’t?). And then is when the dosimeters will enter into play for looking at radiation levels in the spot, but also to the accumulated radiation during our stay (Iwill post these numbers…). The idea is to visit localities with known presence of Hyla arborea during daytime and see if they area active. If they are, the plan is to collect 20-25 males on each locality for conducting all the studies on the effects of radiation in their genetics, morphology, physiology and development. If they are not active, the plan is get back during nighttime and hope for them to be more active. So, let’s see how things go tomorrow, all fingers crossed.

Photo by Frank Vissen 

We will stay tomorrow close to the Zone, at the Chernobyl Hotel, also quite a name… So, I am not sure that tomorrow I will be able to connect to the net from the Chernobyl area. If not, just wait for me to be back to Internet area for updates…