Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis




Danielle Levesque

Committee Members

Angela Mech, Sabrina Morano

Graduation Year


Publication Date

Fall 12-2022


The impacts of climate change are only increasing, and yet not all those impacts have been studied on certain species. The American pine marten Martes americana (Turton, 1806) is one of the species potentially vulnerable to climate change. They are an important component of biodiversity as they hunt a variety of small mammals and feed on numerous plants. Martens are also important prey to many winged and terrestrial species. In Maine, they are an umbrella species that co-occur with eleven other species and their presence is also a good indicator of a healthy forest environment. I conducted a literature review to assess what information is available regarding the potential impacts of climate change on this species. I looked at basic biology as well as potential stressors for martens. Those stressors included climate change, heat, temperature, snow cover, snow depth, food availability, and forest disturbance. I observed trends in the literature based on the stressor terms and quantified how many studies had been published within a range of years. Fewer studies on marten stressors have been published in recent years and they are not currently a species of conservation concern. However, martens are reaching the southern edge of their geographical range in Maine and their stressors are important factors to study. Martens are habitat specialists and are sensitive to changes in canopy cover, the number and proximity of trees, and snow conditions. Climate change predictions indicate that snow cover may become less abundant and with forest disturbance becoming a regular occurrence, this species is running out of habitat to turn to. Although the diet and energetics of this species have been well studied, the impacts of heat, due to climate change, on prey availability and their reproduction costs are not well known. Further research on how heat is going to affect this species is needed.