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NORTH AMERICA CONGRESS FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY 2012

Collection of abstracts associated with the symposium “Pikas in Peril? – Distribution, Population Trends, and Resilience of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps)” (compiled by Andrew Smith)

 

 

PIKAS IN PERIL? - DISTRIBUTION, POPULATION TRENDS, AND RESILIENCE OF THE AMERICAN PIKA (Ochotona princeps).

NORTH AMERICA CONGRESS FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – 15-18 JULY 2012

SYMPOSIUM ORGANIZERS:   Andrew Smith and Erik Beever

THEME AND EXPECTED OUTCOMES:

The mascot for the NACFCB, with its theme “Bridging the Gap:  Confecting People, Nature, and Climate” is Stony the Pika (see:  http://www.scbnacongress.org/home/theme-mascot-steering-committee.html#stony).  The American pika is an excellent candidate species to examine the potential effects of climate change on an alpine mammal.  The pika has also been proposed (several times) for consideration as a threatened or endangered species at the federal and state (California) levels, although to date these reviews have determined to not list the American pika.  The American pika aptly illustrates the nuance and complexity of conservation and management challenges in the face of broad-scale contemporary climate change.  This often-common alpine mammal, whose distribution spans much of western North America, has exhibited vulnerability to multiple aspects of climate, yet several recent studies from other domains have documented its apparent resilience in the face of a changing climate.  The goal of this symposium is to bring together in a public forum a suite of major long-term and/or comprehensive studies that have been conducted on the pika throughout much of its geographic range in the Intermontane West.  The participants will highlight what we know, what remains poorly understood, and priorities for future work on the American pika.  Topics will include field methods and analyses that have been undertaken by each of the participants that relate past and current pika populations to issues of climate change, population persistence, and resilience.   

If the American pika is to play a predominant role in our understanding of how climate change may impact the distribution and abundance of an alpine mammal, this understanding must be predicated on the best available science and resulting data, analyses, and conclusions.  Unfortunately, in a rush to judgment (or because the pika is charismatic and there is tendency to anthropomorphize the “story” of it marching off the tops of mountains), much of the information that has been made available to the general public has been dominated by incomplete or incorrect information.  Examples include site-level extirpations that have been extrapolated to include entire mountain ranges, sampling regimes designed to include potential absences that have been interpreted as indicating that pikas are losing ground, and manipulative experiments showing temperature sensitivity of the species that have been extrapolated to assume that pikas perish when exposed to low ambient temperatures (without consideration of their ability to behaviorally thermoregulate).  We hope that one outcome of this symposium will be an enhanced common public understanding of current methods and resulting data from contemporary studies of pikas, so that distributional trends and effects of contemporary climate change can be objectively assessed.  Our analyses of pikas will have broader implications to other alpine mammals and the climate-change community generally.

Another outcome will be our presentation of trend data on populations of American pikas at multiple scales – data that can be used to show how pikas are responding to climate change.  Each symposium participant will address a significant study (or studies) designed to address the distribution and relative abundance of pikas as a function of numerous (e.g., climatic) predictors.  These studies cover much of the geographic extent of the species.  Our methods vary, and understanding the diversity of approaches we have taken and the data resulting from different approaches should give an enriched appreciation of our current state of knowledge of pikas, their distribution, and their potential resilience to change.  It has frequently been stated that we don’t know very much about pikas; this symposium will highlight what we do know.  While this approach highlights the “cup is half-full” – we will also confront the “cup is half-empty,” as each of us knows the limitations of our work and the extent to which we need more information on the biology, distribution, and responses of pikas.  Making clear these important new directions for research will be an outcome of the symposium, as we hope to encourage a new generation of studies on this important alpine mammal and on the systems that it inhabits.

Finally, with the above information in hand, we collectively will be in a better position to address the current status of the American pika – which as introduced earlier, has been highly controversial.  During our concluding open-discussion session, we will be prepared to address how the pika fits the quantitative IUCN Red List criteria, the quantitative California Fish and Game endangered species criteria, etc.  This opportunity for discussion should serve to put the future of pika research and monitoring on a solid and productive footing.

SYMPOSIUM PROGRAM (abstracts below):

Speaker*

Affiliation

Presentation Title


Erik Beever


US Geological Survey;
Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center


Temporally shifting determinants of distribution and abundance of America pikas, and behavioral plasticity ‘softening’ ecological niche boundaries

Connie Millar

USDA Forest Service;
Pacific Southwest Research Station

American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin:
Environmental context, climate, grazing impacts, and radiocarbon dating

Chris Ray

University of Colorado;
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Effects of microclimate on patterns of  survival in the American pika inferred from long-term data on a population in the central Rocky Mountains

Mackenzie Jeffress

University of Idaho; NPS Upper Columbia Basin I & M Network

Status and trend in American pika site occupancy patterns across the western US:
Insights from some of the nation’s “crown jewel” national park units

Liesl Erb

University of Colorado;
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Climatic influences on multi-year occupancy of the American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the southern Rocky Mountains

John Perrine

California Polytechnic State University; San Luis Obispo;
Department of Biological Sciences

Resurveys of historic pika locations in northern California: Summary and critique

Andrew Smith

Arizona State University;
School of Life Sciences

Long-term Dynamics of an American Pika Metapopulation: Resilience at the Population and Individual Levels

All Participants

 

Open Discussion

 

 

ASSOCIATED POSTERS/PRESENTATIONS (abstracts below):

Presenter*

Affiliation

Presentation Title


Jessica Castillo


Oregon State University,
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife


Comparing genetic structure of American pika populations at different elevations:
How does the spatial scale of gene flow vary among landscapes?

Philippe Henry

University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Department of Biology

Adapting to climate change:  Using genomic scans to detect signatures of selection in American pika populations

Justine Smith

University of California,
Santa Cruz, Environmental Studies Department

Patterns of selective caching behavior of a generalist herbivore, the American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Joseph Stewart

University of Nevada,
Biology Department

Moving beyond resurveys of historic pika record locations:  Using relict feces to test the hypothesis of climate-mediated range retreat in California

Leah Yandow

University of Wyoming,
Department of Zoology and Physiology

Declining limiting features of climate and habitat of American pika (Ochotona princeps) subpopulations in the face of climate change

*presentation co-authors are listed in the abstracts that follow         

 

ABSRACTS

Temporally shifting determinants of distribution and abundance of American pikas, and behavioral plasticity ‘softening’ ecological-niche boundaries

Erik A. Beever, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, Bozeman, MT  59715, USA; [email protected]

Solomon Dobrowski, Department of Forest Management, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT  59812, USA

Embere Hall, Teton Science Schools and Program in Ecology, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY  82071, USA

Annie Loosen, Conservation Science Center, Teton Science Schools, Jackson, WY  83001, USA

Montane ecosystems have been suggested by both paleontological and contemporary research to often be systems of relatively rapid faunal change, compared to many valley-bottom counterparts.  In addition to often experiencing greater magnitudes of contemporary change in climatic parameters than species in other ecosystems, mountain-dwelling wildlife must also accommodate often-greater intra-annual swings in temperature and wind speeds, poorly developed soils, and generally harsher conditions.  In the hydrographic Great Basin, pace of American-pika losses (defined as upslope retraction of minimum elevation of occupancy, and rate of site-wide extirpations) as well as determinants of extirpation differed dramatically from the latter 20th century to the period during 1999-2008.  We present new results of ecoregional-level analyses of pikas (Ochotona princeps Richardson) that illustrate how biologically relevant derived hydrological variables can be important predictors of abundance.  We also present new results from the Great Basin and Northern Rocky Mountains that illustrate how behavioral plasticity can, in at least some cases, ‘soften’ the boundaries of species’ bioclimatic niches.  Emerging efforts may contribute greatly to broad-scale, mechanism-based investigations to inform management and conservation of diverse montane wildlife and the ecosystem components with which they interact. 

 

American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin: Environmental context, climate, grazing impacts, and radiocarbon dating

Constance I. Millar, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA 94710, USA; [email protected]

Robert D. Westfall, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Albany, CA 94710, USA

Katherine A. Heckman, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station and Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Livermore, CA  94550, USA

Karena Schmidt, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Houghton, MI  49931, USA

Christopher Swanston, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Houghton, MI  49931, USA

We give results from four studies of Ochotona princeps in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin. Distribution, environment, climate: Our expanded database (750 sites, 17 ranges) corroborates earlier findings of high density and wide elevation occupancy (1780 m span) in the Sierra Nevada and west Great Basin; much lower density and narrower elevation ranges characterize the central Great Basin. Climatic envelopes for occupied sites extend beyond earlier limits in the Sierra Nevada. Unoccupied sites in the Sierra Nevada and west Great Basin occur at low and high elevation bounds; in the central Great Basin they occur across the pika’s elevation range and environmental contexts. Talus thermal regimes: Intensive measurement of pika taluses in the Sierra Nevada documents summer temperatures of rock matrices consistently lower than surfaces with attenuated variation. Locations at the low talus border are coldest; positions higher in the talus are warmer. Winter matrix temperatures are warmer than external air. Matrix locations resist warming, reaching asymptotes ~10°C as surfaces continue to warm. These conditions favor behavioral plasticity. Grazing impacts: Grazing by livestock of talus forefields is associated with haypiles higher in talus and comprising low-value intra-talus vegetation relative to areas without grazing. These conditions suggest low-quality habitat. Radiocarbon dating: Pellets submitted for radiocarbon dating (13C, 14C) from 40 sites returned calibrated dates throughout the 20th century and as old as <1904 CE. Ages of many sites did not correspond to field-based estimates.

 

Effects of microclimate on patterns of survival in the American pika inferred from long-term data on a population in the central Rocky Mountains

Chris Ray, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO  80309, USA; [email protected]

Recent State and Federal opinions on the potential for climate-mediated endangerment of the American pika have cited a lack of information on population trends and on trends in climate relevant to this species. Pikas thermoregulate in part by frequenting sub-surface habitats which exhibit lower summer temperatures than those above the surface. This behavior may allow pikas to avoid effects of rising summer temperature more readily than species that do not use such microclimates. Thus, it is unclear whether pikas are more vulnerable to climate change than other species. However, it is also unclear whether summer warming is their main hazard. The morphology, physiology and behavior of these non-hibernating lagomorphs suggest a legacy of selection for surviving cold winters. Ironically, pikas may now face colder winters in places where dwindling snow cover exposes sub-surface habitats to ambient temperatures. In this study, long-term data on pika survival in relation to sub-surface temperatures are used to infer climate-mediated trends in a population in south-central Montana. Nineteen years of mark-resight data on 542 pikas indicate a lasting decline in survival of first-year territory owners beginning in 1999. Although reduced survival in response to (lagged) summer heat and especially winter cold are supported in these data, compensating recruitment has ensured long-term stability of this population. Projecting recruitment will be key to projecting effects of climate.

 

Status and trend in American pika site occupancy patterns across the western US: Insights from some of the nation’s “crown jewel” national park units

Mackenzie Jeffress, University of Idaho; National Park Service Upper Columbia Basin I & M Network, @ BLM – Elko District Office, 3900 Idaho St., Elko, NV  89801, USA; [email protected]

American pika research has largely occurred as disparate efforts on unprotected lands in the western US. However, this charismatic species is important to many western national parks and monuments and concerns over its ability to persist in the face of accelerated climate change have brought the species to the attention of park resource managers. Furthermore, studying the species in these parks and protected areas provides an excellent opportunity to align study objectives and methods and to establish a broader regional scope of inference that can yield novel insights into habitat relationships and long-term population trends. A monitoring partnership was initiated in 2009 among four national park units and the National Park Service’s vital signs monitoring program. The group produced a monitoring protocol that provides robust probabilistic sampling designs and standardized field methods, facilitating both park- and regional-level analyses. With this approach, estimates of turnover and “growth rate” in site occupancy provide the framework for evaluating temporal trends. The protocol has since been adopted by other parks and agencies and was used in the “Pikas in Peril” research effort that expanded the partnership to include four additional “crown jewels,” including the flagship Yellowstone National Park. Occupancy surveys and genetic collections made during 2010-2011 at more than 1,100 sites are fueling regional modeling and a species vulnerability assessment.

 

Climatic influences on multi-year occupancy of the American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the southern Rocky Mountains

Liesl P. Erb, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO  80309, USA; [email protected]

Robert Guralnick, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO  80309, USA

Chris Ray, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO  80309, USA

As a cold-adapted, primarily montane mammal species, the American pika (Ochotona princeps) is presumed to depend on a narrow set of climatic conditions for survival. While much is known about the natural history of this species, its climatic tolerance is being tested throughout the species’ range as the rate and severity of anthropogenic climate change heightens. Some populations have suffered recent extirpations, particularly in the hotter, more arid regions of the American pika’s range, such as the Great Basin. Populations in regions such as the southern Rocky Mountains, have, on the whole, fared much better in the face of recent climatic change. Our 2008-2011 surveys of 69 historically occupied locations indicate that pikas still inhabit over 80% of these historic sites. Despite these relatively high occupancy rates, a notable pattern has emerged among the locations lacking pikas in the four focal survey years. Occupancy modeling of these data indicate that chronically dry sites were the most likely to lack pikas in 2008, while new extirpations in later survey years indicate that populations experiencing high summer temperatures are also vulnerable. These results suggest important interactive effects of precipitation and temperature for this and other study systems influenced by climatic change. As both these climatic metrics change, climatically-sensitive species such as the American pika must be closely monitored.

 

Resurveys of historic pika locations in northern California: Summary and critique

John Perrine, Biological Sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA  93407-0401, USA; [email protected]

David Wright, Resource Assessment Program, California Department of Fish and Game, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670, USA

Cody Massing, Biological Sciences Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA  93407-0401, USA

Joseph Stewart, California Department of Fish and Game @ Evolution, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Biology Department, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV  89557, USA

We summarize recent resurveys of historic pika locations in northern California conducted by three separate research teams. Pika sites were deduced from historic field notes and museum specimens, and were surveyed to determine if currently occupied by pika. In the Yosemite region (2002-2005), eight of nine historic pika sites were occupied; extirpation at the lowest site suggested a retraction of pika’s lower elevation limit. However, the 9th historic site, at the same elevation, was subsequently found to be occupied, erasing the apparent pattern of retraction. In the Lassen region (2009-10), 12 of 19 historic sites were occupied. Extirpation of a few peripheral sites drove the pattern of elevation and longitudinal contraction. In a survey centered on the Lake Tahoe region (2009-10), 15 of 17 historic sites were occupied, with the two abandoned sites representing the smallest talus areas resurveyed. All three surveys documented additional occupied pika locations in these regions, in some cases expanding the geographic or ecological range compared to the historic sites. The teams are currently examining the correlation between pika persistence and multiple environmental variables, e.g. elevation, patch size, local temperatures, and historic climate. However, differentiating stochastic metapopulation dynamics from deterministic responses to environmental change can be challenging. We will discuss the limitations of such resurveys and the implications for pika monitoring and conservation.

 

Long-term dynamics of an American pika metapopulation – Resilience at the population and individual levels

Andrew T. Smith, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ  85287-4501, USA; [email protected]

John D. Nagy, School of Life Sciences, Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale, AZ  85256

Metapopulation dynamics of the American pika (Ochotona princeps) have been investigated at Bodie, California, since 1972, including nearly annual censuses since 1989. The pikas at Bodie occupy anthropogenic ore dumps across a landscape of Great Basin sagebrush habitat. Annual frequencies of extinction of populations on patches and recolonization of vacant patches varied among years, although they have been nearly equivalent summed over years since 1989 (115 extinctions; 110 recolonizations). There are no obvious trends between available climate data and prevalence of extinctions or recolonizations among years. Percent patch occupancy ranged from 55-59% in early censuses (1972, 1978).  Between 1989 and 1991 the southern constellation of patches collapsed and has not recovered. The northern constellation of patches (1-2 km north) has maintained a high occupancy rate (49-88%), and the percent occupancy in 2009 (84%) mirrored that of the original census in 1972 (83%). Metapopulation dynamics at Bodie is driven by frequent extinctions of populations on small habitat patches coupled with low recolonization rates due to decreased vagility of pikas at this low, hot location. A warming climate does not appear to be responsible for any change in patch extinction rate, but it may contribute to the inability of pikas to recolonize the southern constellation of patches.

 

Comparing genetic structure of American pika populations at different elevations: how does the spatial scale of gene flow vary among landscapes?

Jessica A. Castillo, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA; [email protected]

Clinton W. Epps, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

American pikas (Ochotona princeps) have been proposed as an indicator species for global climate change. Some populations in the relatively low elevation Great Basin appear to have gone extinct within the last century, while pikas in other portions of the species’ range are apparently thriving. Due to their reliance on talus, lava, and other specialized habitats, their distribution is naturally fragmented at local and regional scales. Understanding the spatial scale at which dispersal and gene flow occur among habitat patches, and comparing among different ecosystems, is critical to evaluating the vulnerability of pikas to climate change. We investigated gene flow among habitat patches and genetic diversity within four study sites representing three major geographic regions: Crater Lake National Park in the Cascade Range, Grand Teton National Park (GRTE) in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and Hart Mountain (HM) and Sheldon (SH) National Wildlife Refuges in the Great Basin. Genetic diversity was greatest in the highest elevation site, GRTE, and lowest in the two lower elevation sites, SH and HM. In each study site, genetic structure increased strongly with distance between habitat patches. However, isolation by distance was stronger in the two Great Basin sites, suggesting habitat patches there are less connected. This is the first study for pikas that compares genetic diversity and inter-patch gene flow across multiple geographic regions and ecosystems.

 

Adapting to climate change: using genomic scans to detect signatures of selection in American pika populations

Philippe Henry, Ecological and Conservation Genomics Lab, Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC  V1V 1V7, Canada; [email protected]

Michael Russello, Ecological and Conservation Genomics Lab, Department of Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, BC  V1V 1V7, Canada

In the face of predicted climate change, a broader understanding of biotic responses to varying environments has become important within the context of biodiversity conservation. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is a climate change sensitive species that is distributed along elevation gradients in the Coast Mountains of BC, Canada, providing an ideal system for studying adaptive population divergence, as environmental conditions change rapidly over short geographical distances. Here, we investigated the genetic basis of adaptation in pika populations from the Coast Mountains using amplified fragment length polymorphisms-based genomic scans, allowing for genome-wide searches of adaptive loci among populations inhabiting varying environments from sea-level to 1500m. Using a conservative approach employing multiple algorithms, we identified 23 loci that are candidates for selection. Additionally, six of these “outlier” loci displayed significant associations with environmental variables including annual precipitation, and maximum summer temperature. These results represent a novel application of genomic scans to detect candidate loci under selection in pikas, providing preliminary evidence for adaptive population divergence along multiple altitudinal gradients. As our ability to detect adaptive genetic variation within natural populations increases, so does our need to consider novel in ways in which this information may be incorporated into conservation strategies.

 

Patterns of selective caching behavior of a generalist herbivore, the American pika (Ochotona princeps)

Justine A. Smith, Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA  95064, USA; [email protected]

Liesl P. Erb, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO  80309, USA

The impact of climate on the American pika (Ochotona princeps) is currently being investigated in light of recent population extirpations. While recent studies have focused on patterns of population persistence, there is a lack of information on mechanisms that drive declines. Among possible mechanisms are pikas’ behavioral responses to environmental variation. Selective foraging by pikas has been well documented throughout North America, but the results of these studies are inconsistent regarding plant characteristics that influence caching behavior. Such variation may be explained by environmental factors. To explore influences on selective caching behavior, we investigated patterns of pika selectivity at 13 sites with respect to temperature, precipitation, elevation, and latitude. We found that high summer temperatures and low available plant quality predict increased selectivity for plants with higher nutrient composition (low C:N ratios and high total N), while selectivity for plants with high water content was negatively correlated with elevation. Our data suggest that environmental variables and their interactions differentially influence the degree and nature of pika selective behavior. These results illustrate the complexity of pika caching behavior across a range of environmental conditions and forage values. In the face of changing climatic and vegetation dynamics in the alpine, such information may be critical in predicting future pika persistence.

 

Moving Beyond Resurveys of Historic Pika Record Locations: Using Relict Feces to Test the Hypothesis of Climate-Mediated Range Retreat in California

Joseph Stewart, Evolution, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Biology Department, University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV  89557, USA; [email protected]

The American pika (Ochotona princeps) has been flagged as a bellwether of climate warming. To determine if the species has suffered climate-mediated upslope range retreat in California, researchers have resurveyed historic pika record locations. However, historic pika surveys did not attempt to capture the species’ lower elevational limit, thereby making this approach unable to falsify the hypothesis of upslope range retreat. Fortunately, an alternative approach exists—pika feces have been documented to persist for at least 36 years after site extirpation. By searching sites for both current pika occupancy and old pika feces we are able to compare the species’ current and past distribution. In 2011, I piloted this approach at 75 sites in the central and northern Sierra Nevada. In most regions, I found relict pika feces at significantly lower elevations than the pikas’ apparent lower elevational limit. In the Yosemite, Desolation Wilderness, and north Lake Tahoe regions respectively, I found relict pika feces up to 320 m, 330 m, and 330 m below the lowest known current pika occupancy in that region. This evidence is suggestive of climate mediated upslope retreat but more information is needed. Further work will integrate analysis of (a) covariate dependent detection probabilities, (b) metapopulation turnover rates, (c) alternate competing hypotheses, and (d) radiocarbon isotopes to determine if feces originated before or after atmospheric nuclear testing.

 

Delineating limiting features of climate and habitat of American pika (Ochotona princeps) subpopulations in the face of climate change

Leah H. Yandow, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY  82071, USA; [email protected]

Anna D. Chalfoun, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY  82071, USA

Daniel F. Doak,  Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY  82071, USA

The distinctive life-history traits of the American pika (Ochotona princeps) including their physiological constraints, limited dispersal ability, and occurrence in small isolated populations render them particularly vulnerable to climate change. Because of these qualities and their role in the alpine community, pikas are an emblematic species of alpine habitats and are widely viewed as an indicator of change in these systems. However, disparate climatic and habitat forces appear to limit pika populations across the species range, suggesting that climate effects are highly context-dependent. We are investigating the importance of climate and habitat characteristics in explaining relative pika abundance across two distinct Central Rocky mountain ranges in Wyoming.  Data from both the Wind River and Bighorn ranges show similar patterns in pika abundance, with the strongest support for explanatory models including elevation and forage availability. Low pika abundances were found at both the lowest and highest elevation sites and at sites with low forage availability. Forthcoming analyses using remotely sensed climate and temperature sensor data will clarify the relationship between climate and elevation that drives these results.  Our results will allow for better prediction of shifting pika populations with climate change as well as an enhanced knowledge of the forces structuring pika populations. 

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