In September 2010, 6 species of shrews (genus: Sorex) were collected at a single locality on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska. Such high sympatric diversity within a single mammalian genus is seldom realized. This phenomenon at high latitudes highlights complex Arctic community dynamics that reflect significant turnover through time as a consequence of environmental change. Each of these shrew species occupies a broad geographic distribution collectively spanning the entire Holarctic, although the study site lies within Eastern Beringia, near the periphery of all individual ranges. A review of published genetic evidence reflects a depauperate shrew community within ice-free Beringia through the last glaciation, and recent assembly of current diversity during the Holocene.
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High shrew diversity on Alaska's Seward Peninsula: Community assembly and environmental change