The conventional approach to determining contaminant burdens in animals is to use lethal sampling and analysis methods. Given the ethical considerations associated with conventional sampling methods and the fact that many species are protected, there is growing international interest in the use of non-lethal methods (e.g. Wood et al., submitted). In addition to whole-body monitoring, these methods may include the non-lethal collection of various tissue samples such as skin, muscle, blood, feathers, hair, scales and infertile eggs. Through analysis of these samples and knowledge of contaminant distributions in organisms, whole-body contaminant burdens could be estimated.
This Task Group aims to facilitate international cooperation in the area of non-lethal approaches for measuring contaminant burdens in wildlife and to advance the development and adoption of non-lethal methods in radioecology.
1. Establish the current state of knowledge on non-lethal methods for major vertebrate groups (amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles)
2. Identify and engage researchers, both within and outside of the radioecology field, who have a shared interest in developing the application of non-lethal methods
3. Identify and engage researchers specialising in the analysis of small samples
4. Organise a workshop to exchange knowledge and ideas on non-lethal techniques and identify research synergies and opportunities, including joint research proposals and publications
5. Prepare at least one peer reviewed journal article on the current strengths and limitations of non-lethal sampling methods
6. Develop a strategy for moving the non-lethal methods agenda forward within the IUR, including a plan for future activities of this Task Group. This may include exploring the potential for using non-lethally sampled tissues for biomarker measurements.
The Task group intends to produce an IUR Task Group Report for publication in the IUR report series.
The Task Group will interact through a combination of face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings and a dedicated email list. Individual Task Group members will be tasked with collating and analysing available data to underpin the development of non-lethal methods for major vertebrate groups. Given the research focus of this Task Group, funding will be sought to support future Task Group activities.
The time frame for current planned activities of the Task Group is as follows:
- Announcement of Task Group formation via IUR website and mailing list (July 2011)
- Review current state of knowledge on non-lethal methods for major vertebrate groups (July 2011 - July 2012)
- Workshop to exchange knowledge and ideas on non-lethal techniques and identify research synergies and opportunities (late 2011 / early 2012)
- Submission of at least one peer reviewed journal article (August 2012)
- Submission of at least one funding application (December 2012)
- Production of first Task Group Report (March 2013)
It is anticipated that this Task Group will have close links with other IUR Task Groups, including the Task Groups on ‘Radioecology in a multiple stressor environment' and ‘Protection of the environment'. Links with relevant individuals and organisations from the wider scientific community will also be established.
Task Group membership
This Task Group needs to include radioecologists with expertise in tissue distributions for major vertebrate groups (amphibians, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles), selected specialists from the wider scientific community with expertise in non-lethal methods and experts in analytical techniques that can be used to analyse small sample sizes.
If you are interested in joining this Task Group, please contact the Chair (Mike Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wood MD, Beresford NA, Yankovich TL, Semenov DV and Copplestone D. Addressing current knowledge gaps on radionuclide transfer to reptiles. Radioprotection (submitted)