NE CSC Graduate Fellow, Marketa Zimova, published two papers on how the worldwide decrease in snow cover already may have dramatic impacts on animals that change coat colors with the seasons. Marketa has been working towards a PhD studying species' responses to climate change, investigating hares and adaptation to decreasing snow cover. She was a fellow at the Southeat CSC while she completed this work in partner with fellows Toni Lyn Morelli and Ben Zuckerberg from the east coast.
In the recently published article researchers identified areas that could aid species particularly vulnerable to climate change. Twenty-one species undergo a seasonal color molt from summer brown to winter white as camouflage against snow, while other individuals remain brown. Recently climate change has been warming the Northern Hemisphere causing less snowfall, as a result hares and foxes increasingly find themselves in mismatch with their environment. In the study the international team mapped polymorphic zones for eight color-changing species, including hares, weasels and the Arctic fox. The goal of the project was to determine where species were the most vulnerable, and how coat-changing animals might be able to survive climate change.
- Where Coat-Changing Animals are both White and Brown: Important Regions for Potential Climate Adaptation NC State University Global Change Forum
- L. Scott Mills, Eugenia V. Bragina, Alexander V. Kumar, Marketa Zimova, Diana J. R. Lafferty, Jennifer Feltner, Brandon M. Davis, Klaus Hackländer, Paulo C. Alves, Jeffrey. M. Good, José Melo-Ferreira, Andreas Dietz, Alexei V. Abramov, Natalia Lopatina, Kairsten Fay. Winter color polymorphisms identify global hot spots for evolutionary rescue from climate change, Science. 15 Feb 2018:eaan8097, DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8097
- Zimova, M., K. Hackländer, J. M. Good, J. Melo-Ferreira, P. C. Alves and L. S. Mills. 2018 Function and underlying mechanisms of seasonal colour moulting in mammals and birds: what keeps them changing in a warming world?. Biological Reviews. doi:10.1111/brv.12405
- To Survive, These Animals Must Lose Their Camouflage. The Atlantic. February 15, 2018