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Personnel and Partners

Project Leaders

Philip Unitt, ornithologist, has been the collection manager and curator for the San Diego Natural History Museum’s Department of Birds and Mammals since 1988. He has published over 30 papers on the distribution, ecology, identification, and conservation of birds, primarily in southern California. He was a co-author of Birds of the Salton Sea: Status, Biogeography, and Ecology, published by University of California Press in 2003, and the San Diego County Bird Atlas, published by the San Diego Natural History Museum in 2004. The latter project, entailing the supervision of hundreds of volunteers and building and analyzing a database of about 400,000 records, was even more ambitious than the expedition to the San Jacinto region outlined here.

Brad Hollingsworth, Ph.D., herpetologist, has been the curator of the Department of Herpetology at the San Diego Natural History Museum since 1999. All amphibian and reptile research is under his direction. Brad specializes in the morphological and molecular systematics of amphibians and reptiles from southern California and Baja California region. He studies the evolutionary history of isolated populations, which include species restricted to oases, mountaintops, and islands in both the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California. Brad also oversees the amphibian and reptile research collection, which has over 73,000 individually catalogued specimens dating back to 1891.

Scott Tremor, mammalogist, has been on the San Diego Natural History Museum’s staff since 2004, following 16 years of working with the mammal collection at the San Diego Zoo. He has 20 years of experience in mammal trapping and monitoring, working with rodents, bats, and carnivores. He has overseen biological inventories, conducted studies of wildlife corridors, and taught classes in mammal identification, biology, and tracking. Since 2003 he has organized and supervised studies of the effects of wildfire on mammals in San Diego County sponsored by the Joint Fire Science Program and Cleveland National Forest. He is also a principal investigator on the San Diego County Mammal Atlas, to be published in 2008.

Lori Hargrove, ornithologist and ecologist, is completing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside, in 2008. Her dissertation research is addressing elevational shifts in the distribution of birds along the slopes of the Peninsular Ranges in response to climate change, for which she received the Cooper Ornithological Society’s Mewaldt-King award in 2005. Her study area overlaps with the San Jacinto Mountains, including some of the sites we will visit as part of the study we propose here. For the Cleveland National Forest Lori developed a survey protocol for the Gray Vireo, a rare species for which the San Jacinto Mountains are home to a critical population.

Dana McLaughlin, mammalogist, has worked as a research technician on mammal studies since 2002. Her projects have including trapping and study of the endangered Pacific Little Pocket Mouse at Camp Pendleton, study of the effects on mammals of the Cedar Fire of 2003, studies of the effects of habitat fragmentation on mammals and reptiles, and inventories of the mammals of Cabrillo National Monument and the San Felipe Valley Wildlife Area.

Drew Stokes, mammalogist and herpetologist, has almost 12 years of field experience, is one of few experts on bats in all of southern California. He currently holds an M.O.U. with the California Department of Fish and Game to capture and handle bats. He has extensive experience identifying bats by sound, including the Anabat detector. He also has worked on several of bat radio telemetry projects in the southwestern United States. He is a member of the California Bat Working Group responsible for developing the California Bat Conservation Plan. Drew is also experienced surveying for rare reptiles and amphibians and wrote the protocol for pitfall trapping for the U.S. Geological Survey.

The project will offer opportunities for graduate students to participate and perhaps design their theses around our proposed studies.

We anticipate the project will use numerous volunteers and associates as well, helping with bird counts, handling mist nets, helping with mammal trapping, and preparing specimens, among other tasks. The San Diego Natural History Museum organizes a vast corps of volunteers to help with all aspects of its operations.


Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Morongo Band of Mission Indians

San Jacinto District, San Bernardino National Forest

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley

Forest Service Volunteer Assoc.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mount San Jacinto State Park

Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mtns National Monument

Lake Hemet and Eastern Municipal Water Districts

Carnegie Institute of Washington

University of California, Riverside

Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center

San Diego State University


Southern California Edison

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mona Baumgartel and John DeBeer

Christopher W. Swarth and Marilyn L. Fogel

George S. Swarth

Judith S. Hurley and Peter L. Hurley

Additional sponsors and partners welcome and needed! Please call Philip Unitt at 619.225.0235 or