Philip Unitt, Curator, is a specialist in subspecies identification of California birds and author of The San Diego County Bird Atlas, The Birds of San Diego County and editor of Western Birds, the regional journal of ornithology for western North America.

Dr. Lori Hargrove, Ecologist, specializes in bird monitoring and ecological analyses. One focus of her research has been on elevational shifts of bird species and the mechanisms involved, including response to fire and climate change, and she has several recent manuscripts published or in review.  She has coordinated surveys and developed monitoring protocols for the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.

Scott Tremor, Mammalogist, specializes in surveying for and identifying southern California mammals to the subspecies level. He holds permits to capture California Species of Special Concern as well as federally endangered species (Pacific pocket mouse, Stephens’ kangaroo rat, San Bernardino kangaroo rat). He is the principal editor of the San Diego County Mammal Atlas.

Drew Stokes, Field Biologist, has more than 23 years of biological experience. He specializes in surveys for bats and herpetofauna, and is generally familiar with the vertebrates and invertebrates of southern California. He is permitted for the capture and handling of bats and the federally endangered Arroyo toad. He is highly experienced with the acoustic identification of bat echolocation calls, and is a contributing author to the San Diego County Mammal Atlas.  

Kevin B. Clark, Field Biologist, has over twenty years of biological experience, and holds federal and state permits to survey and nest monitor Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Western Snowy Plover, Least Bell’s Vireo, California Gnatcatcher, and California Least Tern.  He is permitted to mist-net, handle, and band migratory birds.  He has extensive experience with management and monitoring of endangered species, including as regional recovery coordinator for the threatened Western Snowy Plover and author of the Critical Habitat and Listing Rule for the California Gnatcatcher.

Lea Squires, Field Biologist, has been conducting bird surveys in Southern California for over ten years.  She has conducted surveys and monitoring for sensitive species including California Least Tern, Western Snowy Plover, Coastal California Gnatcatcher, Least Bell’s Vireo, and many others.  She has also conducted small mammal surveys and is a skilled bird specimen preparer.

Research Associates

Susan Arter, co-director of the San Diego Zooarchaeology Laboratory, is a specialist in the identification and analysis of animal skeletal remains from archaeological sites. San Diego Zooarchaeology Lab.

Dr. James Diffendorfer, research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is an applied ecologist working at the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center. He currently works on science related to the energy-environment nexus, ecosystem services, and applied ecology.

William T. Everett is President and Founder of the Endangered Species Recovery Council in La Jolla, CA.  He is Past Chair of the Pacific Seabird Group, an international conservation and research organization. Bill has worked on a wide variety of endangered species projects spanning 25 years. He has studied bowhead whales in Alaska, river dolphins in Amazonia, declining bird species in the Marquesas Islands. From 1991 through 1997 he was a Principal Investigator in the effort to save one of North America's most endangered birds, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike.

Dr. Marilyn Fogel is professor of biology at UC Merced. Professor Fogel is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading scientist in the use of stable isotopes for understanding fundamental processes in ecology, ecosystem science, paleoecology and paleoclimatology, astrobiology, biogeochemistry, and marine science.

Dr. Jeffrey L. Lincer directs the non-profit Researchers Implementing Conservation Action. His background includes 40 years as a scientist, educator, scientific advisor and administrator in environmental research and management and is most well-known for his work with raptors and other T/E species.        

Samantha Marcum is the Coastal Program Regional Coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   She coordinates research on a wide range of species, including birds and bats throughout California and southern Oregon.                             

Dr. Eric Mellink, a senior scientist at the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE), was awarded Volkswagen’s “For the Planet” conservation biology prize in 2013 for his work conserving native species. Dr. Mellink is an ecologist investigating a wide range of terrestrial and marine species.                                                      

Dr. Michael A. Patten, Associate Professor with the Oklahoma Biological Survey at the University of Oklahoma, studies evolutionary ecology and biogeography or North American birds.   He is coauthor, with Philip Unitt and Guy McCaskie, of Birds of the Salton Sea: Status, Biogeography, and Ecology.

Dr. Matt Rahn is the Director for Development and Research with the San Diego State University Field Stations Program. Dr. Rahn directs the University’s policies in land use, facilities development, ecosystem management, and conservation planning issues.

Dr. Amadeo M. Rea, a former curator of the Birds and Mammals Department, is emeritus Professor of Biology at the University of San Diego.  He has authored numerous publications on the birds and mammals of the southwest, including:  Once a River: Bird Life and Habitat Changes on the Middle Gila, Wings in the Desert: A Folk Ornithology of the Northern Pimans, and Folk Mammalogy of the Northern Pimans.  A recent compendium honoring his career was titled, Explorations in Ethnobiology: The Legacy of Amadeo Rea.

Dr. Aaron Sasson, co-director of the San Diego Zooarchaeology Laboratory, is a specialist in the identification and analysis of animal skeletal remains from archaeological sites. San Diego Zooarchaeology Lab.

Dr. Wayne Spencer is Director of Conservation Assessment and Planning for the Conservation Biology Institute. Dr. Spencer is a wildlife conservation biologist with over 30 years of professional experience in biological research and conservation planning.  He specializes in the practical application of ecological and conservation science to resources management, design of nature reserves, and recovery of endangered species.

Christopher Swarth is Project Scientist for the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, and Director of the Vernal Pools Grasslands Reserve. His research interests include waterbird distribution and population abundance on estuaries; patterns of songbird reproduction; turtle population structure, home range, diet and habitat use; and nutrient dynamics in freshwater tidal wetlands.

Dr. Howard Thomas, emeritus Professor of Biology at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is an expert on the squirrels of North America.  He has authored five “Mammalian Species” accounts sponsored by the American Society of Mammalogists.  He has conducted mammalian research in numerous locations throughout the world.   


Volunteers in the Birds and Mammals Department assist with many tasks associated with maintaining the extensive collection. This includes specimen preparation, assembling and numbering skeletons, entering records in the Department's database, and checking the collection for pest activity. The Department prefers volunteers with a science background and openings are limited. You must be at least 18 years of age. If you are interested in this or other volunteer opportunities, please complete an online application. The Director of Volunteers will contact you to schedule an interview or invite you to an introduction to the Museum.