Ep. 35 - The Receding Hare Line (and More Snow-related Science)

It’s Snow-and-Tell time! We’re deep into winter right now, and spring seems snow far away. So, we decided to embrace the season and look into recent research around a topic that would be sure to provide plenty of puns for this write-up: SNOW! We delve into recent studies about how much snow actually falls on North America, if the indigenous peoples of the north really have 100 words for snow, how climate change is affecting snowfall levels, and how those changes impact Snowshoe Hare populations (Lepus americanus) . Plus, in honor of Darwin Day, Steve insults the father of natural selection. All this, plus, we follow up on last episode’s cliffhanger, filling you in on the results of Bill’s Lyme disease test. Enjoy!

This episode was recorded on February 3, 2019 at the Hampton Brook Woods Wildlife Management Area in Hamburg, NY.

Download the episode transcript.

Episode Notes:

During this episode, the guys wondered how far north the Canadian Rockies go. They extend to northern British Columbia (if you’re geographically-challenged like us, this map might be helpful).

Special thanks to listener Joe Stormer for transcribing this and other episodes. Thank you, Joe, for making our episodes more accessible!

Works Cited:

Pauli, J.N., Zuckerberg, B., Whiteman, J.P. and Porter, W., 2013. The subnivium: a deteriorating seasonal refugium. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment11(5), pp.260-267.      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130507134421.htm


Regier, T., Carstensen, A. and Kemp, C., 2016. Languages support efficient communication about the environment: Words for snow revisited. PloS one11(4), p.e0151138.


Sultaire, S.M., Pauli, J.N., Martin, K.J., Meyer, M.W., Notaro, M. and Zuckerberg, B., 2016. Climate change surpasses land-use change in the contracting range boundary of a winter-adapted mammal. Proc. R. Soc. B283(1827), p.20153104.      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160330174231.htm


Wrzesien, M.L., Durand, M.T., Pavelsky, T.M., Kapnick, S.B., Zhang, Y., Guo, J. and Shum, C.K., 2018. A new estimate of North American mountain snow accumulation from regional climate model simulations. Geophysical Research Letters45(3), pp.1423-1432.       https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180313113426.htm


Zimova, M., Mills, L.S. and Nowak, J.J., 2016. High fitness costs of climate change‐induced camouflage mismatch. Ecology Letters19(3), pp.299-307.