"At this point I wish to emphasize what I believe will ultimately prove to be the greatest value of our museum. This value will not, however, be realized until the lapse of many years, possibly a century, assuming that our material is safely preserved. And this is that the student of the future will have access to the original record of faunal conditions in California and the west, wherever we now work."
More than a century ago, Joseph Grinnell began his career as the founding Director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ). His vision, encapsulated in the quote above, informed the fieldwork that he and his colleagues conducted throughout the West. They documented and collected mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles from over 700 locations across California and adjoining states, resulting in a remarkable snapshot of early 20th century biodiversity.
The MVZ intends to continue Grinnell’s vision by extensively resurveying the vertebrate diversity at the sites he and his colleagues examined. By documenting changes in communities and relative abundance of species, as well as developing predictive models of how vertebrate diversity (at genetic, phenotypic, species & community levels) will respond to continuing change and efforts from the conservation community to protect diversity, the MVZ ultimately hopes to increase the understanding of long-term dynamics of the distribution of vertebrates in California.