Are pikas disappearing from the Southern Rockies?
Pikas are well adapted to the cool summers and snowy winters in the alpine. As Southern Rockies summers become hotter and snowpack decreases, scientists are curious if pika populations in this area can handle those changes. Dr. Liesl Erb is trying to figure out whether pika populations are disappearing from places where they used to live and, if so, why they're not where they used to be.
Are there genetic differences between pikas living at high and low elevations?
Studies have shown that pikas are disappearing in many areas due to hot and dry conditions, but not all pikas populations are experiencing these declines. While hot and dry locations tend to be lower elevation habitat, many low elevation sites still have thriving pika populations. We’re interested in understanding whether there are genetic differences that drive these populations to persist. To answer this question we will be comparing pika genetics between low and high elevation sites in the North Cascades National Park.