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Diversity of small mammals in the Sierra Nevada: Filtering by natural selection or by anthropogenic activities?Author(s): Douglas A. Kelt; Rahel Sollmann; Angela M. White; Susan L. Roberts; Dirk H. Van Vuren
Source: Journal of Mammalogy. 98(1): 85–93
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionBoth historical and contemporary factors may influence the structure and composition of biotas. Small mammal faunas in the Sierra Nevada of California, United States, are strongly dominated by generalist species; however, whereas 1 recent study argues that this is a product of recent anthropogenic influences, another provides a deeper evolutionary explanation based on historic fire frequencies. We summarize these patterns and proposed mechanisms, and we integrate data from 2 other studies—1 in the Sierra Nevada and 1 from an evolutionarily related mountain range in Baja California—to provisionally conclude that evolutionary adaptation, and possibly climatic warming in the Holocene, likely are the primary drivers of this faunal structure. However, we agree with work elsewhere in North America that recent anthropogenic filtering likely has amplified the effects of adaptation and climatic warming; one result of this is that the Sierra Nevada currently supports very limited areas of older (decadent) forests, and species dependent on these habitats may require special attention by resource managers.
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CitationKelt, Douglas A.; Sollmann, Rahel; White, Angela M.; Roberts, Susan L.; Van Vuren, Dirk H. 2016. Diversity of small mammals in the Sierra Nevada: Filtering by natural selection or by anthropogenic activities? Journal of Mammalogy. 98(1): 85-93.
Keywordsanthropogenic filtering, forest management, frequent-fire habitat, natural selection, small mammal faunal composition
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