A team led by Daniel Blumstein of the University of California, Los Angeles, have been monitoring the yellow-bellied marmots of Colorado’s Upper East river for over three decades. Blumstein recently realised the population had exploded. “It’s boom time in this region,” he says.
So what caused them to put on weight? Blumstein and Ozgul suspect it was the gradual warming of the region linked to climate change. The warming means spring starts earlier, so marmots come out of hibernation earlier, giving them more time to fatten up before the next winter.
New Scientist, 21/7/10