15 May 2017. We are still happy, really happy after last night big catch. These two localities and 37 new frogs, will provide us with really valuable information to know a bit more about how living in a radioactive contaminated area, like Chernobyl, affects wildlife (and humans).
Our final full day in the Exclusion Zone was dedicated to sample the frogs collected last night. All the photos, measurements and tissue collection kept us busy from 9:30AM to 7PM. A quite intense lab day. These frogs put our grand total in five different localities, ranging from high contamination to clean areas, and 74 frogs. The weather did not allow us to do more, but anyway it was a good sampling trip. Together with last year work, we have sampled in eight different places inside de Zone, collecting a bit less than 200 treefrogs. For some of our planned studies these numbers are more than enough. For others, newly developed this year, we will probably need more individuals. And that means just one thing. We will likely return here next year, for #ChernobylFrogs18!! Part of our field material, is actually going to be kept here, in special our wading boots. Waiting for us to return next May, probably a bit later in the month, towards the end, trying to hope for better and more estable weather.
After finishing with the sampling, it was time to pack “our lab”. In particular, it was time to carefully put all the precious samples in their boxes and the dry shipper. Part of these samples will travel with Pablo on Wednesday to Doñana Biological Station, in Seville, Spain. Other part, including the shipper, will travel (hopefully!!) with me to Sweden tomorrow. Some of the samples in the shipper will end up in the labs of our colleagues of the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety-IRSN in Cadarache, Southern France. And some others will stay here in Ukraine for dose assessment at the Chornobyl Centre. A truly international and multidisciplinary project!!
Time tomorrow to drive to Kiev and back home. Still one day of #ChernobylFrogs17 ahead, and a final important thing remains. The dry shipper. It should all be ok for traveling with it in the plane, but just in case a person especializad in dealing with permits at the Chornobyl Centre will go with us to the airport. Let’s hope that everything will be fine with the shipper this time. But I will not be relaxed until having it at the Animal Ecology labs in Uppsala. And even then, it has to travel somehow to France. But that will be the next leg of the history. For now, time to say goodbye to Chernobyl and its frogs. We will be back!!!