This lecture was recorded May 19th,. 2016 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California -------------------------------------------------------------------- Given increasing energy needs related to global development, and the specter of climate change related to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels, there is an urgent need for large scale energy production that does not involve the production of greenhouse gasses. Nuclear energy is one possible solution that has been embraced by many developing countries (e.g. China). But the accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and most recently Fukushima, Japan, have demonstrated the vulnerability of this technology to human error, design flaws and natural disasters and these accidents have resulted in enormous health, environmental and economic costs that must be factored into any energy policy that includes nuclear as an option. Studies of natural systems are essential since they provide a bellwether for the potential long-term consequences for human populations that by necessity and policy continue to inhabit contaminated regions. Professor Mousseau, discusses his studies of plants and animals living in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Extensive research on birds, insects, rodents and trees has demonstrated significant injury to individuals, species and ecosystem functioning related to radiation exposure He presents an overview of the effects of radiation on DNA, birth defects, infertility, cancer, and longevity, and its consequences for the health and long-term prospects of wildlife living in radioactive regions of the world.
Tim Mousseau (PhD '88, McGill) is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Past positions include Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Vice President for Research at USC, and as a Program Officer for Population Biology at the National Science Foundation. His research is concerned with the ecology and evolution of animals and plants with special interests in how adaptations to changing environments evolve in natural populations and the evolution of adaptive maternal effects. He has authored or edited 10 volumes and published more than 190 scientific papers. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Explorers Club. Tim Mousseau full bio: http://cricket.biol.sc.edu/Mousseau