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New records of marginal locations for American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Western Great BasinAuthor(s): Constance I. Millar; Robert D. Westfall; Diane L. Delany
Source: Western North American Naturalist 73(4):457-476
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionWe describe 46 new site records documenting occupancy by American pika (Ochotona princeps) at 21 locations from 8 mountain regions in the western Great Basin, California, and Nevada. These locations comprise a subset of sites selected from regional surveys to represent marginal, isolated, or otherwise atypical pika locations, and to provide information for assessing environmental tolerance limits. Several locations are known from historic observations (Madeline Plain, Bodie Mtns., Wassuk Mtns., Mono Craters) and are included here to update current status. Site elevations range from 1848 m to 3392 m; relative to the broad range of pika sites in the region, the new locations have climates that are 2–4 °C warmer and receive approximately half the annual precipitation. Sites are located in lava flows and domes, inselbergs (isolated, rocky exposures on a small hill), eroding bedrock, rock-glacier till, talus slopes, and anthropogenic roadbed armaments and mining ore dumps. Several sites are situated in uncommon vegetation contexts, for example, montane desert scrub communities or locations where vegetation adjacent to taluses is sparse or lacking. Proximity to surrounding pika habitats (as a measure of marginality) was evaluated based on relative talus distribution patterns for 0.5-km, 2.5-km, and 5.0-km circular areas nested around each site. Seven idealized, schematic spatial patterns were used to assess potential connectivity among sites, ranging from “island” (no other talus within the respective areas) to “even” (many talus patches regularly distributed). Applying this approach to the 21 sites demonstrated a simple method for qualitatively assessing pika habitat relative to dispersal potential and metapopulation viability and also revealed complexities of biogeographic patterns related to marginality.
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CitationMillar, Constance I.; Westfall, Robert D.; Delany, Diane L. 2013. New records of marginal locations for American pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Western Great Basin. Western North American Naturalist 73(4): 457-476.
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