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Volume 28
Number 2
Summer 2011
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American pika under rock overhang at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho. Pikas in Peril: Multiregional vulnerability assessment of a climate-sensitive sentinel species
By Lisa Garrett, Mackenzie Jeffress, Mike Britten, Clinton Epps, Chris Ray, and Susan Wolff
Published: 4 Sep 2015 (online)  •  14 Sep 2015 (in print)
Pikas and climate change
Pika research
About the authors
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American pika on lava beds at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho.

NPS/Doug Owen

Figure 1. Many believe that pikas only occur in high-elevation talus habitat. However, the American pika can be found as low as sea level, especially in the northern portion of its range, and in other fragmented rock structures, such as the lava beds found at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (illustrated) and Lava Beds National Monument.

Resource managers from eight western national parks and three universities are collaborating on a research project to document American pika (Ochotona princeps) occurrence, predict distribution patterns, measure gene flow and connectivity of populations, and assess vulnerability of pika to climate change (fig. 1, above). This joint research is made possible through funding from the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program.

Parks included in this project encompass a wide variety of habitat and elevation ranges from talus slopes in alpine areas in the Rocky Mountains to lower-elevation lava flows in the Columbia Basin and Cascades. Pika researchers are collecting data for this project in Crater Lake National Park (Oregon), Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (Idaho), Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming), Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Colorado), Lassen Volcanic National Park (California), Lava Beds National Monument (California), Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado), and Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) (fig. 2). Researchers from the University of Colorado–Boulder and University of Idaho, along with park biologists and seasonal technicians, conducted occupancy surveys and collected fecal DNA in 2010 and 2011. Researchers from Oregon State University are analyzing the DNA samples to assess gene flow patterns in pika populations.

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This page updated:  8 November 2011

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From the Editor
Information Crossfile
Masthead Information
Special Issue: Climate Change Science in the National Parks
Climate change impacts and carbon in U.S. national parks
Glossary: Climate change–related terms
  Pikas in Peril: Multiregional vulnerability assessment of a climate-sensitive sentinel species
Pika monitoring under way in four western parks: The development of a collaborative multipark protocol
Climate change science in Everglades National Park
Sea-level rise: Observations, impacts, and proactive measures in Everglades National Park
Landscape response to climate change and its role in infrastructure protection and management at Mount Rainier National Park
Glacier trends and response to climate in Denali National Park and Preserve
Climate change, management decisions, and the visitor experience: The role of social science research
Conserving pinnipeds in Pacific Ocean parks in response to climate change
The George Melendez Wright Climate Change Fellowship Program: Promoting innovative park science for resource management
Estimating and mitigating the impacts of climate change and air pollution on alpine plant communities in national parks
Parks use phenology to improve management and communicate climate change
Standards and tools for using phenology in science, management, and education
Hummingbird monitoring in Colorado Plateau parks
Paper birch: Sentinels of climate change in the Niobrara River Valley, Nebraska
Climate change in Great Basin National Park: Lake sediment and sensor-based studies
Long-term change in perennial vegetation along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park (1889–2010)
The distribution and abundance of a nuisance native alga, Didymosphenia geminata, in streams of Glacier National Park
Monitoring direct and indirect climate effects on whitebark pine ecosystems at Crater Lake National Park
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