21 Jul '11, 9pm

How are pikas weathering the heat?

In the Great Basin--the arid region between the Rocky Mountains and California's Sierra Nevada--pikas already are disappearing. According to National Park Service biologist Erik Beever, the mammals have recently disappeared from 8 of 25 mountainous locations where they were documented in the early 1900s. Beever, who published his discovery in the Journal of Mammalogy, says the die-off indicates that suitable habitat is shrinking. Notably, the most recent pika losses occurred at the warmer, southern end of the animals' range. This is what you would expect from rising temperatures--a loss at the margins of their distribution, says Beever. The finding represents one of the first contemporary examples of a North American mammal exhibiting a rapid shift in distribution due to climate.

Full article: http://www.nwf.org/Home/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlif...

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