Limits...
Climate Tolerances and Habitat Requirements Jointly Shape the Elevational Distribution of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps), with Implications for Climate Change Effects.

Yandow LH, Chalfoun AD, Doak DF - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Scat density also increased with temperatures conducive to forage plant growth, and showed a unimodal relationship with the number of days below -5°C, which is modulated by insulating snowpack.Our results provide support for both the forage availability and winter snowpack hypotheses.Especially in montane systems, considering the context-dependent nature of climate effects across regions and elevations as well as interactions between climatic and other critical habitat characteristics, will be essential for predicting future species distributions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, 1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071, United States of America; Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology (3166), University of Wyoming, 1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Some of the most compelling examples of ecological responses to climate change are elevational range shifts of individual species, which have been observed throughout the world. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests substantial mediation of simple range shifts due to climate change by other limiting factors. Understanding limiting factors for a species within different contexts, therefore, is critical for predicting responses to climate change. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is an ideal species for investigating distributions in relation to climate because of their unusual and well-understood natural history as well as observed shifts to higher elevation in parts of their range. We tested three hypotheses for the climatic or habitat characteristics that may limit pika presence and abundance: summer heat, winter snowpack, and forage availability. We performed these tests using an index of pika abundance gathered in a region where environmental influences on pika distribution have not been well-characterized. We estimated relative pika abundance via scat surveys and quantified climatic and habitat characteristics across two North-Central Rocky Mountain Ranges, the Wind River and Bighorn ranges in Wyoming, USA. Pika scat density was highest at mid-elevations and increased linearly with forage availability in both ranges. Scat density also increased with temperatures conducive to forage plant growth, and showed a unimodal relationship with the number of days below -5°C, which is modulated by insulating snowpack. Our results provide support for both the forage availability and winter snowpack hypotheses. Especially in montane systems, considering the context-dependent nature of climate effects across regions and elevations as well as interactions between climatic and other critical habitat characteristics, will be essential for predicting future species distributions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Correlations between American pika scat density and four local climate measures.Climate variables from top to bottom: number of days above 10°C, adj. r2 = 0.06; mean summer temperature, adj. r2 = 0.02; total degree days, adj. r2 = 0.04; and mean winter temperature, adj. r2 = 0.01; were obtained via ibutton sensors in the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA deployed during August, 2010 –August 2011.
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pone.0131082.g006: Correlations between American pika scat density and four local climate measures.Climate variables from top to bottom: number of days above 10°C, adj. r2 = 0.06; mean summer temperature, adj. r2 = 0.02; total degree days, adj. r2 = 0.04; and mean winter temperature, adj. r2 = 0.01; were obtained via ibutton sensors in the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA deployed during August, 2010 –August 2011.

Mentions: The other climate variables supported in one or the other model suite also varied with elevation (Fig 5). Days above 10°C, mean summer temperature, total degree days, and mean winter temperature, all included in models that outcompeted elevation in the original model, each declined with increasing elevation. Scat increased with mean summer temperature and total degree days, decreased with mean winter temperature, and showed a either unimodal relationship or linear increase with days above 10°C, depending on the model suite (Fig 6; Tables 3 and 4).


Climate Tolerances and Habitat Requirements Jointly Shape the Elevational Distribution of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps), with Implications for Climate Change Effects.

Yandow LH, Chalfoun AD, Doak DF - PLoS ONE (2015)

Correlations between American pika scat density and four local climate measures.Climate variables from top to bottom: number of days above 10°C, adj. r2 = 0.06; mean summer temperature, adj. r2 = 0.02; total degree days, adj. r2 = 0.04; and mean winter temperature, adj. r2 = 0.01; were obtained via ibutton sensors in the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA deployed during August, 2010 –August 2011.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4526653&req=5

pone.0131082.g006: Correlations between American pika scat density and four local climate measures.Climate variables from top to bottom: number of days above 10°C, adj. r2 = 0.06; mean summer temperature, adj. r2 = 0.02; total degree days, adj. r2 = 0.04; and mean winter temperature, adj. r2 = 0.01; were obtained via ibutton sensors in the Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA deployed during August, 2010 –August 2011.
Mentions: The other climate variables supported in one or the other model suite also varied with elevation (Fig 5). Days above 10°C, mean summer temperature, total degree days, and mean winter temperature, all included in models that outcompeted elevation in the original model, each declined with increasing elevation. Scat increased with mean summer temperature and total degree days, decreased with mean winter temperature, and showed a either unimodal relationship or linear increase with days above 10°C, depending on the model suite (Fig 6; Tables 3 and 4).

Bottom Line: Scat density also increased with temperatures conducive to forage plant growth, and showed a unimodal relationship with the number of days below -5°C, which is modulated by insulating snowpack.Our results provide support for both the forage availability and winter snowpack hypotheses.Especially in montane systems, considering the context-dependent nature of climate effects across regions and elevations as well as interactions between climatic and other critical habitat characteristics, will be essential for predicting future species distributions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, 1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071, United States of America; Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology (3166), University of Wyoming, 1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming, 82071, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Some of the most compelling examples of ecological responses to climate change are elevational range shifts of individual species, which have been observed throughout the world. A growing body of evidence, however, suggests substantial mediation of simple range shifts due to climate change by other limiting factors. Understanding limiting factors for a species within different contexts, therefore, is critical for predicting responses to climate change. The American pika (Ochotona princeps) is an ideal species for investigating distributions in relation to climate because of their unusual and well-understood natural history as well as observed shifts to higher elevation in parts of their range. We tested three hypotheses for the climatic or habitat characteristics that may limit pika presence and abundance: summer heat, winter snowpack, and forage availability. We performed these tests using an index of pika abundance gathered in a region where environmental influences on pika distribution have not been well-characterized. We estimated relative pika abundance via scat surveys and quantified climatic and habitat characteristics across two North-Central Rocky Mountain Ranges, the Wind River and Bighorn ranges in Wyoming, USA. Pika scat density was highest at mid-elevations and increased linearly with forage availability in both ranges. Scat density also increased with temperatures conducive to forage plant growth, and showed a unimodal relationship with the number of days below -5°C, which is modulated by insulating snowpack. Our results provide support for both the forage availability and winter snowpack hypotheses. Especially in montane systems, considering the context-dependent nature of climate effects across regions and elevations as well as interactions between climatic and other critical habitat characteristics, will be essential for predicting future species distributions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus