Mammals are an integral part of the rich ecology in San Diego County—a recognized biodiversity hotspot. Despite the critical role mammals play in our environment, there has been no synthesis of their identification, distribution, natural history, or the conservation challenges they face—until now.
Led by Museum Mammalogist Scott Tremor, a collaboration of more than 45 biologists is about to fill this gap with the San Diego County Mammal Atlas, which was released in December 2017. This book covers the biology of all 122 species—91 terrestrial species and 31 inshore marine visitors—known to have occurred here during recorded history (since 1769).
The Mammal Atlas’ introductory chapters encompass an overview of mammals as a class, a history of mammalogy in San Diego County, and a review of the regional conservation issues mammals currently face. A list of fossil mammals from San Diego County helps put the current mammal fauna in its evolutionary context.
Accounts of each species include identification, distribution, habitats, and aspects of natural history such as diet, reproduction, space use, activity patterns, predators, and behavior. They address the conservation issues each species faces in the county, including urbanization, habitat fragmentation, and the increased prevalence of wildfire. Techniques for detecting or surveying the species in the field are discussed, and key topics for future research are highlighted.
Although the book is focused geographically on San Diego County, it has wide interest to scientists, conservationists, and educators throughout the southwestern United States and Mexico. The target audience includes students (high school and university), land managers, working biologists, amateur naturalists, and anyone with an interest in San Diego’s wildlife.
Photographs of most species reflect the work of many prominent local photographers. Maps depict localities of Museum specimens and the observations of biologists. Gaps in current knowledge are presented as challenges to inspire students and researchers to pursue in future studies.
This new Atlas is a companion piece to the San Diego County Bird Atlas, published in 2004, and will be the definitive guide to the mammals of San Diego County. Quite simply, no naturalist’s bookshelf should be without it.
The book retails for $49.95 in the Museum store and online. Proceeds from sales of the Mammal Atlas support the Museum’s Department of Birds and Mammals.