Alaska Science Center
Arctic Museum Collections--Special Issue The Beringian Coevolution Project: Holistic Collections of Mammals and Associated Parasites Reveal Novel Perspectives on Evolutionary and Environmental Change in the North
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Full Publication: https://doi.org/10.1139/AS-2016-0042
Product Type: Journal Article
Authors: Cook, J. A., K. E. Galbreath, K. C. Bell, M. L. Campbell, S. Carrière, J. P. Colella, N. G. Dawson, J. L. Dunnum, R. Eckerlin, S. E. Greiman, V. B. Fedorov, G. M. S. Haas, V. Haukisalmi, H. Henttonen, A. G. Hope, D. Jackson, T. Jung, A. V. Koehler, J. M. Kinsella, D. Krejsa, S. J. Kutz, S. Liphardt, S. O. MacDonald, J. L. Malaney, A. Makarikov, J. Martin, B. S. McLean, R. Mulders, B. Nyamsuren, S. L. Talbot, V. Tkach, A. Tsvetkova, H. M. Toman, E. Waltari, E. C. Waltari, and E. P. Hoberg
The Beringian Coevolution Project (BCP), a field program underway in the high northern latitudes since 1999, has focused on building key scientific infrastructure for integrated specimen-based studies on mammals and their associated parasites. BCP has contributed new insights across temporal and spatial scales into how ancient climate and environmental change have shaped faunas, emphasizing processes of assembly, persistence, and diversification across the vast Beringian region. BCP collections also represent baseline records of biotic diversity from across the northern high latitudes at a time of accelerated environmental change. These specimens and associated data form an unmatched resource for identifying hidden diversity, interpreting past responses to climate oscillations, documenting contemporary conditions, and anticipating outcomes for complex biological systems in a regime of ecological perturbation. Because of its dual focus on hosts and parasites, the BCP record also provides a foundation for comparative analyses that can document the effects of dynamic change on the geographic distribution, transmission dynamics, and emergence of pathogens. By using specific examples from carnivores, shrews, lagomorphs, rodents and their associated parasites, we demonstrate how broad, integrated field collections provide permanent infrastructure that informs policy decisions regarding human impact and the effect of climate change on natural populations.