Biology ETDs


Noel Savignac

Publication Date



Radiocesium ( 137Cs) is formed in high yield from nuclear fission and has a long physical half-life, 27 yr. These facts plus ready absorption by the gastrointestinal tract (Hamilton, 1947) make cesium one of the most dangerous fission products and as such has provided impetus for the study of 137Cs metabolism from the standpoint of both physical characteristics and health physics. As a portion of these investigations, the effects of temperature changes, specifically elevated environmental temperatures, were studied with the intent of demonstrating physiological factors involved in 137Cs uptake and retention by animals native to semiarid environments. The whole-body retention or 137Cs and the distribution of cesium in the various body tissues of Citellus spilosoma were compared between animals maintained at 23 C and animals exposed to environments ranging from 37 C to 45 C. A decrease in tissue-retention index, TRI, was observed in the spleen, stomach, and kidney of the heat-exposed animals as compared to the controls; however no differences between the two groups could be demonstrated for either the whole-body retention or the quantity of urine and feces produced. The decrease in TRI in the spleen may be accounted for by contraction of the spleen which occurs in heat stress while additional data are necessary to explain the other phenomena observed.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Marvin LeRoy Riedesel

Second Committee Member

John W. Beakley

Third Committee Member

William Jacob Koster

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Biology Commons