Relatively little research has been conducted on animal life in Japan and its coastal waters after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster but anomalies have already been identified.
One study found a marked decline in bird abundance in Fukushima.[i]
Spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies, butterflies, bumblebees and cicadas also suffered population declines since the accident.[ii]
Another study found cesium contamination in Japanese macaques, ranging across time from a high of 25,000 Becquerels per kilogram in 2011 to 2,000 in 2012.[iii]
Yet another study published in 2015 found chromosomal malformations in wild mice caught in Fukushima Prefecture, with young mice more adversely impacted than older mice.[iv]
Research conducted by Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences on fir trees near the Fukushima Daiichi plant found significant increases in morphological defects corresponding to radiation exposure doses.[v]
Taken together, these studies point to increased biological risks for flora and fauna living in radiation contaminated zones.
[i] A. Moller, A. Hagiwara, S. Matsui, S. Kasahara, K. Kawatsu, I. Nishiumi, H. Suzuki, K. Ueda, T. and A. Mousseau (2012) ‘Abundance of Birds in Fukushima as Judged from Chernobyl’, Environmental Pollution, 164, 36–39.
[ii] A. Moller, I. Nishiumi, H. Suzuki, K. Ueda, T. A. Mousseau (2013) ‘Differences in Effects of Radiation of Animals in Fukushima and Chernobyl’, Ecological Indicators, 24, 75–81.
[iii] S. Kimura and A. Hatano (4 October 2012) ‘Scientists in Groundbreaking Study on Effects of Radiation in Fukushima’, The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201210040003, date accessed 6 October 2012.
[iv] Yoshihisa Kubota, Hideo Tsuji, Taiki Kawagoshi, Naoko Shiomi, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Yoshito Watanabe, Shoichi Fuma, Kazutaka Doi, Isao Kawaguchi, Masanari Aoki, Masahide Kubota, Yoshiaki Furuhata, Yusaku Shigemura, Masahiko Mizoguchi, Fumio Yamada, Morihiko Tomozawa, Shinsuke H. Sakamoto, and Satoshi Yoshida Chromosomal Aberrations in Wild Mice Captured in Areas Differentially Contaminated by the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2015, 49 (16), pp 10074–10083. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01554.
[v] Watanabe, Yoshito, San’ei Ichikawa, Masahide Kubota, Junko Hoshino, Yoshihisa Kubota, Kouichi Maruyama, Shoichi Fuma, Isao Kawaguchi, Vasyl Yoschenko, Satoshi Yoshida, “Morphological defects in native Japanese fir trees around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” Scientific Reports 5.13232 (2015): doi:10.1038/srep13232.