Researchers of the U.S. Geological Survey reported a study in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of Mammology. They found “widespread reduction in pika range in three mountainous regions including the Great Basin, southern Utah and northeastern California.” The causes of the reduction were studied and the researchers concluded that “…changes we have observed in pika distribution are primarily governed by climate.” Pikas are viewed as an “indicator” species to determine the effects of climate and other variables because “…they can be abundant, are easily detectable and active during the day, live in identifiable habitat, and are sensitive to climate change.” They concluded that climate change was the key variable, more important than other possible causes such as droughts and habitat area. A description of the study results is available at https://www.usgs.gov/news/pikas-disappearing-parts-west-due-climate-change-0 The study is significant since recently the effects of climate change on other mammals such as the wolverine have been disputed.
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