National Park Service

Upper Columbia Basin Network (UCBN)

Pikas in Peril

Training field crews to find evidence of American pika
Training field crews to find evidence of American pika

New! Pika Monitoring Resource Briefs, Handouts, and Presentations

Brief about landscape effects on pika gene flow

Pikas in Peril Research Project Journal Articles

Pika Inventory Reports

Pika Monitoring Reports

Pika Sampling Protocol & Procedures

PikaNet Citizen Science Program

For more information contact: Tom Rodhouse

Parks Involved

UCBN Parks:

Other Parks :

  • Crater Lake National Park, OR
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, CO
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY
  • Lava Beds National Monument, CA
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY, MT, ID

Video: Pikas Living on the Edge: Monitoring a Species Facing a Changing Climate


Project Overview

The Pikas in Peril Project is funded through the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program. A large team of academic researchers and National Park Service staff is working together to address questions regarding the vulnerability of the American pika to future climate change scenarios projected for the western United States.

By assessing the vulnerability of this sentinel species, the research team is providing park managers with insights into the expected rate and magnitude of climate-related changes in park ecosystems and critical information for park scenario planning and interpretive goals.


  • Document pika occurrence patterns and predict pika distribution across eight National Park Service Units.
  • Measure gene flow and model connectivity of pika populations within five National Park Service Units representing major genetic subdivisions and habitat types.
  • Project climate change effects on the future distribution, connectivity and vulnerability of pika populations in each National Park Service Unit.

Project Tasks and Schedule

This research project comprises data collection, analysis and dissemination of results. Data collection started on May 2010, and it follows a standardized survey protocol for studies of pika habitat occupancy (Jeffress et al. 2011). Field work results will be distributed after each field season and final results and conclusions are expected by 2013. Below you will find a brief summary describing the activities scheduled for each year:

  • Year 1: Research associates and biological technicians will collect occupancy data and genetic samples. Initial testing of genetic samples will be conducted at the end of fieldwork. The PikaNet liaison will work with NGOs and parks to establish the PikaNet website and citizen-science program.
  • Year 2: A second year of occupancy data collection will occur in all eight parks. Collection of genetic samples will be conducted in five parks. Genetic analyses on the samples collected in the first year will be conducted. Research associates will work on the development of pika habitat distribution models for all eight parks. Vulnerability assessments will begin. The PikaNet liaison, NGOs and park personnel will work in conjunction to carry out citizen-science program.
  • Year 3: Research associates will complete pika habitat distribution models for two National Monuments (Lava Beds and Craters of the Moon) and six National Parks (Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain and Great Sand Dunes). Analyses of genetic samples collected during year 2 will continue. These genetic data will be used to optimize connectivity models. Researchers will use optimized connectivity and habitat models to conduct climate change vulnerability assessments for pika in the eight participating parks. Project summaries and interpretive materials will be distributed to each of the eight focal parks, and manuscripts will be prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals.


This project includes funding to improve and extend the existing PikaNet citizen-science program, and to align PikaNet training and survey protocols with project goals. Information generated by citizens and researchers will be disseminated through the PikaNet database and website designed to present spatially referenced data to facilitate species management and expand citizen-science efforts.

Several NGOs and universities are already cooperating on the development of the PikaNet website and citizen-science volunteer training, including the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Denver Zoo, Mountain Studies Institute, Center for Native Ecosystems and Craighead Environmental Research Institute.

For more information, contact Chris Ray (Email) or click on a link below:

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Last Updated: October 07, 2015 Contact Webmaster