Mapping Adaptive Hotspots for Wildlife

Brown and white snowshoe hares on snow at a UM research facility (L.S. Mills research photo by Jaco and Lindsey Barnard)

Recent research published in Science has identified “adaptive hot spots” for species that change their coat color in the winter from brown to white. As a changing climate leads to reduced snow cover in the winter, certain species like the snowshoe hare will be negatively impacted due to coat-color mismatch and consequently increased predation. By identifying adaptive hostpots in which brown and white-coated individuals coexist in winter, the international research team, led by Dr. L. Scott Mills from the University of Montana, hopes that it can promote these as areas for protection and foster “rapid evolution toward being winter brown instead of white as climate changes.”


MSU IoE Office

Montana State University
605 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-2374
MSU Director: Bruce Maxwell

UM IoE Office

The Universityi of Montana

The University of Montana
Davidson Honors College
Missoula, MT 59812
(406) 243-6058
UM Director: Maury Valett


Montana University System

Montana University System

Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
2500 Broadway Street
Helena, MT 59620