California Pika Consortium (CPC)

In response to challenges facing American Pika, an interdisciplinary collaborative effort is forming to foster research, monitoring, education, conservation, and adaptation planning for pikas and other high-elevation species. The California Pika Consortium (CPC) was formed after the first California Pika Summit, held November 10, 2009 in Davis, CA (Participants List). The CPC is dedicated to the following goals:

  • Sharing information among research scientists, agency biologists, and conservation groups working on American pika and other high-elevation species in California, and coordinating with similar efforts in other regions and on other Ochotona species
  • Fostering collaborations to provide the best available science to management and policy applications and to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and policy impact of future research, monitoring, and conservation efforts on American pikas

The focus of the CPC is on California pika research and conservation, but the consortium will draw on and provide information to groups working in other areas of the American pika's geographic range.

CPC Organization

CPC Committee

The California Pika Consortium is organized and managed by the CPC Committee. If you are interested in becoming involved in the CPC, contact any of the CPC Committee members:

  • Deana Clifford - Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Investigations Lab.
  • Connie Millar - USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • Toni Lyn Morelli - UC Berkeley, Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management
  • Scott Osborn - Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Program

Work Groups

Efforts of the California Pika Consortium are the responsibility of consortium work groups, which are comprised of volunteers with specific expertise and interests. Click on a work group name for a list of contacts and ongoing projects. If you are interested in becoming involved in the CPC, contact any of the CPC Committee members.

Conservation Work Group

Work Group Members

  • Logsdon
  • Morelli
  • Osborn
  • Smith
  • Wolf

Database Coordination Work Group

Work Group Members

  • CHAIR: Toni Lyn Morelli (U.C. Berkeley, Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management)
  • Sean Finn (U.S. Geological Survey)
  • John Isanhart (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • Scott Osborn (California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nongame Program)
  • Jim Patton (U.C. Berkeley, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology)
  • John Perrine (California Polytechnic State University - San Lu0is Obispo, Biological Sciences Department)

Goals and Objectives

The Database Coordination Work Group (DCWG) has been formed as a part of the California Pika Consortium (CPC) to coordinate data on California pika. This will involve working with state agencies, universities, individual researchers, and others to connect existing databases, to encourage the submission of previously collected data, and to increase the ease of registering new information. The ideal central clearing house will optimize public accessibility, long-term and consistent storage, security, standardization, data verification, and long-term data management. It will include the location and details of previously collected pika blood, hair, feces, and other biological samples; biometric and health data collected on pikas; and information on the distribution of pikas (including surveys where no detections were made), other montane mammals, and their habitats. We will expand to include other regions and other pika species where possible. In these efforts, we will work closely with the Research Coordination work group and other CPC work groups.

Education and Outreach Work Group

Geomorphology and Habitat Mapping Work Group

Work Group Members

  • Connie Millar (chair)
  • April Craighead
  • Liesl Peterson
  • Chris Ray
  • Amy Seglund
  • Bob Westfall
  • Nifer Wilkening

Goals and Objectives

The Pika Geomorphology and Habitat Mapping Work Group (GHM WG) was formed under the leadership of the California Pika Consortium. Initial goals are to:

  1. Delineate and map pika habitat at local to regional scales, especially using remote methods;
  2. Investigate thermal regimes and micro-climatic processes of pika talus and adjacent forefields pertinent to pika habitat use;
  3. Encourage standardization of methods, implementation of research, and communication-coordination on these topics to promote spatial integration of habitat mapping, and time-series understanding of thermal regimes.

The primary geographic emphasis is on pika distribution within California, but coordination and communication with similar efforts elsewhere in the range of American pika and other Ochotona species are also priorities. Because the unique features of talus environment are key to pika persistence, the work group interacts with a group of glacial and periglacial geologists who serve as consultants. The GHM WG maintains communication with the pika Research Coordination Work Group to ensure that efforts are integrated.

Research Consultants (tentative)

  • Doug Clark
  • Mark Demitroff
  • Andrew Fountain
  • Ginger Schmidt
  • Forrest Wilkerson
  • Mark Williams

Pika Health Work Group

Work Group Members

  • CHAIR: Deana Clifford (CDFW)
  • Rick Brown (HSU)
  • Katryna Fleer (UC Davis)
  • Janet Foley (UC Davis)
  • Toni Lyn Morelli (USFS / UCB)

Goals and Objectives

The Pika Health work group (PHWG) will serve as an advisory resource for the California Pika Consortium (CPC) and the broader pika research community and will facilitate development of coordinated studies to investigate the health of pika, other high montane species, and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Some objectives of the PHWG will be to:

  • develop and maintain a list of current pika and high montane species health projects (or published papers);
  • provide health expertise to the larger pika research community as needed (including laboratory testing and investigation of mortalities);
  • assess pika health knowledge and develop studies to address critical knowledge gaps (e.g., determine best anesthetic agents for use in pika, assess exposure to diseases that could potentially threaten pika as a result of climate change);
  • work with researchers to integrate health monitoring (disease and body condition) into population assessments;
  • work with the CPC Protocol work group (PWG) to develop and distribute best practice protocols for pika handling and biological sample collection and storage.

Protocols Work Group

Work Group Members

  • Millar
  • Morelli
  • Peacock
  • Perrine
  • Ray
  • Shardlow
  • West

Research Coordination Work Group

Work Group Members

  • CHAIR: Ed West
  • Deana Clifford
  • Connie Millar
  • Toni Lyn Morelli
  • Scott Osborn
  • Mary Peacock
  • Chris Ray
  • Andrew Smith
  • David Wright

Goals and Objectives

The Research Coordination Work Group (RCWG) has been formed under the leadership of the California Pika Consortium (CPC) to initiate and achieve the following goals and objectives:

  • Gather and compile information on past, present, and proposed future research on pikas, their ecosystems, climate/microclimate conditions, and associated species, primarily in California but also encompassing relevant research outside the state;
  • Compile this information in a structured format that facilitates identification, comparison, and summary of work completed, data gaps, and future research needs. Task products will include:
    • an interactive spreadsheet or database of research projects keyed to author, locality, and research objectives
    • a map of ongoing and historic pika research
    • a comprehensive bibliography of published and unpublished studies on pikas
    • a directory of scientists actively engaged in pika research and of others that may provide consultation on past work or relevant ongoing research applicable to new pika research
    • an annotated bibliography on funding sources used and potentially available for pika research;
  • Develop a forum for communicating this information to all interested parties;
  • Develop a program to support, facilitate, and optimize pika research wherever possible;
  • Coordinate with other CPC work groups to identify and prioritize pika research goals and objectives; and
  • Coordinate with other regional, national, and international pika interest groups and researchers working on other small montane/alpine mammals to foster exchange of information and ideas, promote collaborative work, and increase efficiency in pika research and conservation efforts.