American pikas tolerate climate change better than expectedLeave a Comment
- Pikas are able to tolerate a wider set of habitat and climate conditions than previously understood.
- A new study, led by Connie Millar, a senior research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, documented pikas inhabiting climates and territories never before reported.
- The study found that pikas occur in conditions wetter and colder, as well as warmer and drier, than described from the prior limited sites. Pikas were found at elevations spanning 7,800 feet in elevation, from 5,350 feet to above 13,000 feet, and traversing 40 mountain ranges across California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah.
May 1, 2018 Read full ScienceDaily article here
The American pika, a relative of rabbits, occupies rocky environments in the mountains of western Northern America. It has been widely thought that pikas could not survive extremes of temperature and thus were at risk of running out of space at the tops of mountains as temperatures rise due to climate change. But is there more to the story?
….A new study, “Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas in the Great Basin, USA,” published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, examined the largest set of records for occupied and extirpated (vacant) pika sites across a four-state region encompassing the entire Great Basin, and documented pikas inhabiting climates and territories never before reported….
…..Connie Millar, a senior research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and lead author of the study [said] “Pikas are persisting broadly across the region, and these findings give us reason to believe that the species is able to tolerate a wider set of habitat and climate conditions than previously understood.”
Constance I. Millar, Diane L. Delany, Kimberly A. Hersey, Mackenzie R. Jeffress, Andrew T. Smith, K. Jane Van Gunst & Robert D. Westfall. Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas (Ochotona princeps) in the Great Basin, USA. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1080/15230430.2018.1436296
American Pika (stock image). Credit: © moosehenderson / Fotolia