Frequently Asked Questions about Pikas and Climate Change:
Will pikas go extinct as a result of climate change?
The american pika will probably not become entirely extinct this century (before 2100) as a result of climate change–though it will likely loose a substantial amount of habitat. There are 29 other species of pikas, mostly found at high elevations in Asia. There seems to be a surprisingly small amount written about written about the distribution and abundance of these other species.
How much will the american pika decline as a result of climate change?
Presence-only species distribution models predict that, as long as summer temperature doesn’t warm by more than 7 C, American pikas will be able to persist in at least 10% of their current range (Calkins et al 2012, my own unpublished analyses). While most climate models predict less than 7 C warming, some models predict summer temperature in the Western United States might rise by as much as 8.3 C by 2080 (Hayhoe et al 2004). My research (in review) uses high-quality occupancy data and robust statistical methods and estimates similarly drastic range collapse for pikas in California this century (~40-90% extinction at historical sites).