Title

Analysis of Daily Activity Times for the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Eastern Cascades of Washington

Presenter Information

Amanda Marquis

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 137B

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Keywords

Mammals, Behavior, Pika

Abstract

American pikas are small mammals related to rabbits. They are often described as being diurnal (active during the day), with peak activity times in the morning and evening. We explored the daily activity times of pikas by analyzing a previously collected set of images from motion-activated cameras. As part of another study, two cameras were set in the field for several weeks in summer 2011 and 2012 to detect pika movement. Each image had a time stamp when it was taken. We combined the data from all the dates that cameras were in the field, then counted the number of pika images taken in hourly intervals for the 24-hour cycle. Since motion-sensitive cameras take repeated images if an animal triggers them, we only used images that were at least 10 minutes apart. We analyzed the time of 57 different images, representing above-ground activity of one to three pikas. The pikas at this location were most active in the mid-morning hours, and again late evening. They showed another spike of activity around midnight. The peak in activity at mid-morning and late evening hours is consistent with previous studies of pikas. What was surprising was the midnight activity, and that we detected some activity at almost all hours of the day and night. Knowing when pikas are most active will be useful for climate change studies, because pikas are sensitive to hot weather and would be expected to change their activity patterns in response to warmer climates.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Ernest, Kristina

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 15th, 2:40 PM May 15th, 3:00 PM

Analysis of Daily Activity Times for the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Eastern Cascades of Washington

SURC Room 137B

American pikas are small mammals related to rabbits. They are often described as being diurnal (active during the day), with peak activity times in the morning and evening. We explored the daily activity times of pikas by analyzing a previously collected set of images from motion-activated cameras. As part of another study, two cameras were set in the field for several weeks in summer 2011 and 2012 to detect pika movement. Each image had a time stamp when it was taken. We combined the data from all the dates that cameras were in the field, then counted the number of pika images taken in hourly intervals for the 24-hour cycle. Since motion-sensitive cameras take repeated images if an animal triggers them, we only used images that were at least 10 minutes apart. We analyzed the time of 57 different images, representing above-ground activity of one to three pikas. The pikas at this location were most active in the mid-morning hours, and again late evening. They showed another spike of activity around midnight. The peak in activity at mid-morning and late evening hours is consistent with previous studies of pikas. What was surprising was the midnight activity, and that we detected some activity at almost all hours of the day and night. Knowing when pikas are most active will be useful for climate change studies, because pikas are sensitive to hot weather and would be expected to change their activity patterns in response to warmer climates.