LIFE ON THE EDGE - THE AMERICAN PIKA IN BODIE, CALIFORNIA: A 65 YEAR CASE STUDY OF GENETIC EROSION IN A SPECIES OF SPECIAL CONCERN.
Kelly B. Klingler; University of Nevada, Reno; 1664 N Virginia St, Reno, NV, 89557; (585) 721-8470; kbrieklingler@gmail.com; Lyle B. Nichols, Mary M. Peacock
In an age when wildlife populations are under threat from human-mediated change, genetic monitoring enables conservation biologists to test hypotheses regarding population viability. Here, we document genetic changes in an iconic American pika (Ochotona princeps) metapopulation within Bodie State Historic Park (Mono County, CA) located at the southwestern end of this species' range across a 65 year time frame. The results of this study reveal declines in allelic richness (AR) and observed heterozygosity (Ho), increased population substructure, and reductions in effective population size (Ne). It is likely that the ongoing collapse of suitable habitat due to a changing regional climate, and the subsequent decline in patch occupancy tracked by annual censusing, have directly contributed to these patterns of diversity loss. Finally, we place this local case study of genetic erosion within the context of broad-scale patterns of population structure within and between subspecific pika lineages that highlight the role of isolation and dispersal ability in pika genomic differentiation. Future monitoring programs should incorporate similar monitoring protocols for a larger number of populations associated with each of the five subspecies of the American pika to enable greater understanding of the geographic distribution of species-wide genomic diversity and ultimately, evolutionary potential.
The Anthropocene: Decline & Extinction I