Posts Tagged ‘American Pikas’

American Pikas and Global Warming

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Source:  CO2 Science

Reference
Millar, C.I. and Westfall, R.D. 2010. Distribution and climatic relationships of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Sierra Nevada and Western Great Basin, U.S.A.; periglacial landforms as refugia in warming climates. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42: 76-88.

Background
American pikas are small generalist herbivores that are relatives of rabbits and hares. They tend to inhabit patchily-distributed rocky slopes of western North American mountains and are good at tolerating cold. However, they are widely believed to have a physiological sensitivity to warming, which when “coupled with the geometry of decreasing area at increasing elevation on mountain peaks,” in the words of the authors, “has raised concern for the future persistence of pikas in the face of climate change,” so much so, in fact, that “the species has been petitioned under California [USA] state and federal laws for endangered species listing.” (more…)