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Of plants and pikas: evidence for a climate-mediated decline in forage and cache quality

Bhattacharyya, Sabuj and Ray, Chris (2016) Of plants and pikas: evidence for a climate-mediated decline in forage and cache quality. In: PLANT ECOLOGY & DIVERSITY, 8 (5-6, S). pp. 781-794.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17550874.2015.1121520


Background: Animals that hoard food to mediate seasonal deficits in resource availability might be particularly vulnerable to climate-mediated reductions in the quality and accessibility of food during the caching season. Central-place foragers might be additionally impacted by climatic constraints on their already restricted foraging range. Aims: We sought evidence for these patterns in a study of the American pika (Ochotona princeps), a territorial, central-place forager sensitive to climate. Methods: Pika food caches and available forage were re-sampled using historical methods at two long-term study sites, to quantify changes over two decades. Taxa that changed in availability or use were analysed for primary and secondary metabolites. Results: Both sites trended towards warmer summers, and snowmelt trended earlier at the lower latitude site. Graminoid cover increased at each site, and caching trends appeared to reflect available forage rather than primary metabolites. Pikas at the lower latitude site preferred species higher in secondary metabolites, known to provide higher-nutrient winter forage. However, caching of lower-nutrient graminoids increased in proportion with graminoid availability at that site. Conclusions: If our results represent trends in climate, cache quality and available forage, we predict that pikas at the lower latitude site will soon face nutritional deficiencies.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 4 PARK SQUARE, MILTON PARK, ABINGDON OX14 4RN, OXON, ENGLAND
Keywords: climate change; Ochotona princeps; Rocky Mountains; secondary metabolites; alpine mammals; Niwot Ridge
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2016 05:25
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2016 05:25
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53597

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