The American pika, a small, herbivorous, conspicuously cute mammal related to rabbits, is extra-sensitive to climatic changes. Warmer temperatures threaten pikas by shortening the period available for them to gather food, altering plant populations where they feed and reducing insulating snowpack that protects them from cold snaps. Warming can also cause pikas to overheat, a dangerous condition that may lead to their premature death.
Building on a recently completed five-year U.S. Geological Survey project that examined effects of climate shifts on the pika across the Sierra Nevada, this project focused on filling critical information gap by determining the availability of the pika’s food resources in Yosemite. In addition to helping protect the pika, results from this research help inform park-management decisions and expand scientists’ understanding of the effects of climate change on Yosemite’s alpine ecosystems.
Your support helped scientists conduct important research to better understand, and protect, a threatened species and its precious high-altitude habitat.
Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park.