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