Ungulates in a Warmer Climate
Researchers supported by NCCWSC are working to improve managers’ understanding of ungulates’ response to a warmer climate. For example, when surface water is unavailable, the water content within ungulates’ food provides them with their main source of water, and they must make resourceful foraging decisions to meet their water needs. Scientists researching desert bighorn sheep populations in Arizona have examined whether sheep alter their seasonal diets if managers do not provide them with supplemental water when under drought conditions. Researchers are also examining historical relationships between environmental factors and pronghorn population dynamics to gain insight into their potential response to predicted changes in climate. Researchers models predict that more than half of the pronghorn populations examined will be extirpated or approaching extirpation by the end of the century. Such information will help managers in the development of management and conservation strategies for species on arid lands.
James Cain, U.S. Geological Survey
Jay Gedir, New Mexico State University
Janet Cushing, NCCWSC
Elda Varela Minder, NCCWSC