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Early Faunal Surveys by the MVZ

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Since the Museum’s founding in 1908, it has a rich history of field surveys that documented the distribution and diversity of terrestrial vertebrates in western North America. These early expeditions included transects across the major ecological life zones of California and led to significant publications such as Animal Life in the Yosemite and Vertebrate Natural History of a Section of Northern California through the Lassen Peak Region.

The collections of specimens, field notes, photographs, maps, paintings, and publications that resulted from the early MVZ surveys form the foundation for modern studies focused on recording changes in habitats and associated vertebrate fauna over space and time. For example, the Grinnell Resurvey Project, which aims to revisit over 200 of the 700 sites visited by early MVZ field workers, could not be done without the extensive material left as a legacy for future study.


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