Temperatures Decrease Mammalian Species Richness Nationwide


Margaret Murray

Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Climate change includes changes in temperature and precipitation; even the slightest deviations can throw off the equilibrium of an ecosystem. The purpose of this research was to investigate the trends between temperature, precipitation, and mammal communities. We used data from Snapshot USA, the first nationwide camera trap survey of the United States. Over 1,500 cameras were deployed over 52,000 trap nights from August – November, 2019. Cameras were placed throughout a variety of habitats, including desert, grassland, wetland, forest, and urban. We used Student’s t-tests and generalized linear models to analyze the data in Program R. Climates were moderate for that time of year, with an average temperature of 18°C and 0.19 cm precipitation. The average species richness was about 4 mammal species per camera trap location. We found that temperature had a significant negative relationship with mammal species richness, while precipitation was not an accurate predictor. The next step of our study is to assess these trends across an urbanization gradient, as cities tend to be warmer compared to adjacent rural areas. These findings are important as climate change is projected to increase temperatures nationwide in the upcoming decades, at the potential detriment to the mammal community.


Category A

This document is currently not available here.