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About CNHA

Canyonlands Natural History Association is a nonprofit organization established to assist the scientific and educational efforts of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA Forest Service in southeast Utah.

Photo: Jeff, Arches Bookstore Manager
Distance and Temperature Effects on Pika Forage (USFS)

Principal Investigator: Jim Fowler, Research Ecologist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station. Agency personnel: Barb Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Botanist, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Moab/Monticello District.      

The American pika, Ochotona princeps, has been referred to as a "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to climate change.  

This small relative of the rabbit inhabits cool alpine and subalpine mountain areas and has been shown to be sensitive to higher temperatures from both physiological experiments and from past climate transitions in the late Quaternary.

Both pika and its many forage plant species may respond to increasing temperatures due to global warming, but in what way? This research will measure both soil surface temperature and plant species composition within and outside of the normal pika foraging zone in order to establish a baseline for future species composition and temperature change comparisons.  


Distance and Temperature Effects on Pika Forage (USFS) USFS photo
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