Seattle City Light-Funded Researchers Publish Scientific Paper on Pikas

American pika. Photographer: Matthew Waterhouse

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia studying pikas with help from a Seattle City Light grant issued under the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project Wildlife Research Program has published a scientific paper with its findings about the biodiversity of the tiny mammals.

Michael Russello, Matthew Waterhouse, Paul Etter and Eric Johnson published “From promise to practice: pairing non-invasive sampling with genomics in conservation” with PeerJ.

Their research identified a connection between gene diversity and elevation among pikas studied in the North Cascades National Park.

Researchers non-invasively collected hair samples from the elusive pikas using hair snares and compared the DNA of the various samples.

Pikas are considered by some to be sentinels of climate change. The study recommended further research to identify underlying mechanisms associated with the pikas ability to disperse across their mountainous habitat.

More information on wildlife researched funded by the City Light Wildlife Research Program can be found at