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© 2020, The Author(s). Body size decline is hypothesized to be a key response to climate warming, including warming driven by urban heat islands. However, urbanization may also generate selective gradients for body size increases in smaller endotherms via habitat fragmentation. Here we utilize a densely sampled, multi-source dataset to examine how climate and urbanization affect body size of Peromyscus maniculatus (PEMA), an abundant rodent found across North America. We predicted PEMA would conform to Bergmann’s Rule, e.g. larger individuals in colder climates, spatially and temporally. Hypotheses regarding body size in relation to urbanization are less clear; however, with increased food resources due to greater anthropogenic activity, we expected an increase in PEMA size. Spatial mixed-models showed that PEMA conform to Bergmann’s Rule and that PEMA were shorter in more urbanized areas. With the inclusion of decade in mixed-models, we found PEMA mass, but not length, is decreasing over time irrespective of climate or population density. We also unexpectedly found that, over time, smaller-bodied populations of PEMA are getting larger, while larger-bodied populations are getting smaller. Our work highlights the importance of using dense spatiotemporal datasets, and modeling frameworks that account for bias, to better disentangle broad-scale climatic and urbanization effects on body size.

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Scientific Reports