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High-Arctic preserves: modeling future prospects for the tundra ecosystem

We introduce a predictive framework that uses a combination of genetic information, bioclimatic data, and museum collection data for assessing the past, current, and future distribution and extent of arctic tundra and boreal biomes in northern Alaska.

Principal Investigators:
Hope, Andrew
Talbot, Sandra L.

Project Contacts:

Status: completed
Start Year: 2009
End Year: 2016


USGS Mission Area and Program:
EcosystemsWildlife Program

Major Initiatives:
DOI on the Landscape
FWS - Science Support Program
USGS - Changing Arctic Ecosystems Initiative

Climate Indicators
Biological Classification > Animals/Vertebrates > Mammals > Rodents


We introduce a predictive framework for assessing the future distribution and extent of arctic tundra and boreal biomes in northern Alaska. We use geo-referenced museum specimens to predict the velocity of distributional change of tundra community constituents into the next century and compare predicted refugial areas to current land-use. Reliability of future predicted distributions for two groups of species is strengthened by present and past models, fossil localities and genetic demographic shifts. Evolutionary responses to environmental change through the late Quaternary are consistent with past distribution models. Predicted future tundra refugia overlap areas managed for various uses and indicate potential hotspots for tundra diversity in northern Alaska.

Project metadata record

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