Document

Impact of a century of climate change on small-mammal communities in Yosemite National Park, USA

Resource Location: 
Remotely hosted behind paywall
Author: 
Moritz, Craig, Patton, James L., Conroy, Chris J., Parra, Juan L., White, Gary C., and Beissinger, Steven R.
Date: 
2008
Geographic Keywords:
Abstract: 

We provide a century-scale view of small-mammal responses to global warming, without confounding effects of land-use change, by repeating Grinnell's early–20th century survey across a 3000-meter-elevation gradient that spans Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Using occupancy modeling to control for variation in detectability, we show substantial (∼500 meters on average) upward changes in elevational limits for half of 28 species monitored, consistent with the observed ∼3°C increase in minimum temperatures. Formerly low-elevation species expanded their ranges and high-elevation species contracted theirs, leading to changed community composition at mid- and high elevations. Elevational replacement among congeners changed because species' responses were idiosyncratic. Though some high-elevation species are threatened, protection of elevation gradients allows other species to respond via migration.

Citation: 

Moritz, C., J. L. Patton, C. J. Conroy, J. L. Parra, G. C. White, and S. R. Beissinger. 2008. Impact of a century of climate change on small-mammal communities in Yosemite National Park, USA. Science 322:261–264. doi: 10.1126/science.1163428.