20 Apr 2011:
Populations of American Pikas
Going Extinct As Climate Warms, Study Says
Extinction rates of American pikas have increased nearly five-fold over the last decade
within the Great
Photo by Donald M. Jones/Minden Pictures
An American pika
Basin region of the western U.S., and the climate-sensitive species is moving to higher elevations at a rate 11 times faster than during the 20th century, according to a new study. Erik Beever of the U.S. Geological Survey says the dramatic shift likely demonstrates the increasingly critical role of climate in the local loss of the species, a small hamster-like creature that lives in cool, mountainous habitats. Using 110 years of data on pika distribution across the 150,000-square-mile region, researchers found that four of 10 local pika extinctions observed at 25 sites have occurred since 1999. During that period, pikas have moved up mountain slopes at a rate of about 145 meters (475 feet) per decade, compared with an average rate of about 13 meters per decade during the previous century, according to the study
, which will be published in the journal Global Change Biology
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.