Report

Impact of a Century of Climate Change on Small-Mammal Communities in Yosemite National Park, USA

Science  10 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5899, pp. 261-264
DOI: 10.1126/science.1163428

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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.

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