Mammal Atlas Photo Credits

I received my copy of the San Diego County Mammal Atlas last Tuesday, December 19, 2017. Prior to this I’d seen only the individual species accounts that comprise the main body of the book. There was a gala at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park, preceded by a meet-and-greet VIP session at 5:30 pm followed by a presentation in the Giant Screen Theater. Scott Tremor, who led the team of scientists responsible for the atlas, outlined the journey from inception to completion of this monumental book.

As Scott told it, the idea began in Y2K when Phil Unitt was well underway with the San Diego County Bird Atlas project (published in 2004). Had Scott known the monumental effort ahead, I’m not sure he’d have pushed forward with his vision, but I’m grateful that he did.

The yardstick that would measure this project would be the Bird Atlas, whose success has been admired by all who’ve read it. Phil Unitt’s skill sets as a writer and an organizer of ideas and humans can not be overstated. Moving the Mammal Atlas forward in the shadow of how effortless Phil made it seem, caused many outside observers to wonder “why is this book taking so long?”. There were several significant differences in the projects. Where the birding community is relatively large (numbering in the hundreds) and somewhat cohesive (organized in clubs such as SDFO and Audubon’s), mammal specialist are far fewer and tend to isolate on specific species or families. Organizing and coordinating these scientists in a single direction was no small task. Some might even describe it as “trying to herd cats”.

Additionally during production of the Mammal Atlas, the museum took on several monumental tasks such as  “re-studying” surveys done a hundred years earlier by Joseph Grinnell in Riverside County and the Mojave Desert. These re-study projects were broad in scope, multi disciplined, and spanned 5 or 6 years (some are still in progress). While I’m not an insider to the politics surrounding museum funding, I believe money gets raised in the form of grants and donations, then all attention is directed into this “new thing”, leaving prior commitments on the back burner. Many outside observers have directed blame at Scott for the slow production of the Mammal Atlas, but I don’t think that’s fair.

I joined the team in July 2016 when Scott called and said the project needed help to round up images for the book. Having worked with Scott and Phil on previous projects, I welcomed the opportunity to participate. My photography interests, while spanning several disciplines, is primarily with birds. To make the book’s images reflect the good work by the authors, I resolved to do all I could to contribute to a quality outcome. Scott had specific traits he wanted the images to display, and there were no images available ANYWHERE for many of the subjects, especially the rodents. I eventually persuaded Scott that a single image for a species might not show all the features he wished for, and I got him to agree that it might be better to have a single “Featured Image”, and include smaller “Support Images” within the text. I accompanied the team into the field and developed the terrarium Scott had been using into larger, full featured “Rat Theater” as I like to call it. I learned to work with the museum’s amazing collections vault when subtle traits needed illustration. None of this work was very sexy or glamorous, but it helped in telling the story.

We looked online for images to fill in the blanks, but getting permission of the photographers proved to be difficult and frustrating. I knew we had many excellent photographers in the birding community, most of whom love to photograph birds as well as things not feathered. I wrote a request to our local ornithology club (San Diego Field Ornithologists), and while we didn’t get everything we need from this connection, we got a lot. For me this was one of the most satisfying aspects of the project, and now we had engaged the community. Many of our best images were rounded up this way.

It is not uncommon that photographer credits are not included as an appendix or index with such a work, I would have liked to seen it. Since it wasn’t, I took it on to create one, post mortem. I think the book is superb and I encourage everyone to look for it in your library, or bookstore. I know they can be had at the museum’s gift store, or online at Amazon.


Photo CreditSubjectPage#/figure#
A. MerciecaVirginia Opossum, California Ground Squirrel, Western Harvest Mouse, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Desert Cottontail, Ornate Shrew, Feral Cat, Gray Fox, Kit Fox, Striped Skunk, Western Spotted Skunk, Ringtail, Bighorn SheepP18/f2, P20/f5, P32/f16, P141/f127, P155/f139, P157/f143, P159/f144, P171/f155, P272/f290, P282/f298, P316/f333, P321/f337, P325/f341, P349/f362, P350/f363
B. OllertonVirginia Opossum, California Ground Squirrel, Desert Cottontail, Bobcat, Coyote, Gray Fox, Kit Fox, American Badger, Striped Skunk, Western Spotted Skunk, Ringtail, Raccoon, Mule DeerP20/f6, P35/f19, P162/f148, P264/f283, P279/f297, P285/f301, P289/f305, P290/f306, P315/f332, P319/f336, P323/f340, P327/f344, P331/f348, P342/f357
J. DaynesWestern Gray Squirrel, Round-Tailed Ground Squirrel, Merriam’s Chipmunk, California Chipmunk, Family Heteromyidae, Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat, California Pocket Mouse, San Diego Pocket Mouse, Long-Tailed Pocket Mouse, Baja Pocket Mouse, Spiny Pocket Mouse, Little Pocket Mouse, Botta’s Pocket Gopher, White-Throated Woodrat, Bryant’s Woodrat, Big-Eared Woodrat, Brush Mouse, Cactus Mouse, North American Deer Mouse, Norway Rat, Roof Rat, Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Desert Cottontail, Brush Rabbit, Western Mastiff Bat, California MyotisP22/f7, P38/f23, P39/f24, P43/f27, P48/f32, P51/f37, P55/f41, P67/f53, P70/f56, P74/f60, P80/f66, P83/f69, P86/f73, P98/f84, P104/f89/f90, P108/f93, P111/f96, P112/f97, P115/f100, P120/f105, P130/f114, P131/f115, P134/f119/f120, P148/f133, P155/f136, P155/f140, P159/f145, P163/f149, P188/f174, P240/f246
D. SmithEastern Fox Squirrel, San Diego Pocket Mouse, Desert Pocket MouseP26/f10, P77/f63
J.C. MitchellWhite-Tailed Antelope Squirrel, Family Heteromyidae, Dulzura Kangaroo Rat, California Pocket Mouse, California Mouse, Mexican Long-Tongued Bat, Big Brown Bat, Yuma MyotisP29/f13, P41/f31, P56/f42, P66/f51, P124/f108, P178/f161/f162,  P204/f193, P257/f275, P258/f277
L. DormanRound-Tailed Ground SquirrelP36/f20
S. TremorDesert Kangaroo Rat, Long-Tailed Pocket Mouse, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Canyon Mouse, Pinyon Mouse, Humpback WhaleP48/f33, P51/f36, P73/f59, P116/f101, P127/f111, P138/f124, P364/f382
B. HollingsworthMerriam’s Kangaroo Rat, Botta’s Pocket Gopher, Southern Grasshopper Mouse, Cactus MouseP52/f38, P97/f82, P117/f102, P131/f116
M. PetersonStevens’ Kangaroo RatP60/f45, P61/f47
W. SpencerStevens’ Kangaroo RatP63/f49, P65/f50
SD Zoo StaffLittle Pocket MouseP85/f72
W. MillerLittle Pocket MouseP90/f77, P93/f78
D. MerrillBotta’s Pocket Gopher, Coyote, RaccoonP95/f79/f80, P276/f292, P277/f295, P278/f296, P345/f345
R. RamosCalifornia Vole, North American Deer Mouse, House MouseP100/f85, P136/f123, P145/f130
A. HarperCalifornia VoleP103/f88
J. LemmDesert Gray ShrewP168/f152
R. WaayersBroad-Footed MoleP174/f158
D. StokesMexican Long-Tongued Bat, Lesser Long-Nosed Bat, California Leaf-Nosed Bat, Big Brown Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Canyon Bat, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, Pallid Bat, Western Small-Footed Myotis, Long-Eared Myotis, Yuma MyotisP179/f63, P182/f167, P184/f169, P204/f194, P216/f213, P220/f219, P224/f225, P231/f235, P233/f238, P243/f251, P243/f252, P247/f257, P257/f274
R. JacksonLesser Long-Nosed BatP182/f166
A. Mercieca and

C. VanTassel (collaboration)

California Leaf-Nosed Bat, Western Red Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Canyon Bat, Townsend’s Big-Eared Bat, Pallid Bat, California Myotis, Western Small-Footed Myotis, Long-Eared Myotis, Fringed Myotis, Long-Legged Myotis, Yuma MyotisP183/f168, P208/f200, P215/f211, P219/f218, P220/f220, P223/f224, P224/f226, P231/f234, P239/f246, P243/f250, P246/f256, P247/f258, P250/f262, P253/f268, P256/f273
D. WilkinsWestern Mastiff Bat, Pocketed Free-Tailed Bat, Big Free-Tailed Bat, Mexican Free-Tailed Bat, Western Red Bat, Hoary Bat, Western Yellow Bat, Spotted BatP188/f173, P192/f179, P196/f184, P199/f189, P208/f199, P211/f205, P212/f206, P218/f215, P227/f230, P228/f231
T. WellerSilver-Haired BatP236/f240/f241
S. MarcumCalifornia Myotis, Long-Legged MyotisP240/f245, P254/f269
K. B. ClarkFringed Myotis, Grizzly BearP250/f263/f264, P294/f310
E. KallenBobcatP261/f280
Irvine Ranch ConservancyMountain LionP265/f284
L. KirchhevelMountain LionP271/f289
S. BierKit Fox, American BadgerP289/f305, P314/f331
R. HealyAmerican Black BearP291/f307
B. MartinAmerican Black Bear, Long-Tailed Weasel, Bighorn SheepP293/f309, P310/f326, P352/f366
Photo from BrennanGrizzly Bear P295/f312
T. A. BlackmanGuadalupe Fur Seal, Sea Otter, Blue Whale, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Gray Whale, Risso’s Whale, False Killer WhaleP298/f314, P306/f322, P359/f372/f374, P361/f376, P363/f380, P365/f383, P374/f395, P375/f396, P381/f405
M. S. LowryCalifornia Sea Lion, Northern Elephant Seal, Harbor SealP299/f315/f316, P302/f318, P303/f320
H. HaeselerNorthern Elephant SealP303/f319
C. VanTasselLong-Tailed WeaselP308/f323
A. SearcyAmerican BadgerP312/f327
D. ShierAmerican BadgerP314/f330
USDA APHIS Wildlife ServicesFeral PigP335/f349, P337/f352, P337/f353
A. FisherMule DeerP339/f354
San Diego Historical CenterAmerican ElkP342/f358
San Diego Zoological SocietyPronghornP343/f359
J. AsmusPlains BisonP346/f360
R. L. PitmanNorth Pacific Right Whale, Eastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common DolphinP364/f367, P368/f387
J. TowersMinke WhaleP355/f368
T. A. JeffersonBryde’s Whale, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Eastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Short-Finned Pilot Whale, Risso’s Whale, Striped Dolphin, Harbor Porpoise, Dall’s Porpoise, Sperm Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked WhaleP357/f370, P360/f375, P363/f379, P369/f388a, P372/f393, P375/f398, P382/f406, P386/f411, P386/f412, P387/f413, P391/f414
S. BradHumpback WhaleP362/f378
W. PerrymanGray WhaleP365/f384
A Schulman-JanigerGray Whale, Killer WhaleP366/f386, P389/f403
S. WebbEastern North Pacific Long-Beaked Common Dolphin, Short-Beaked Common Dolphin, Northern Right Whale DolphinP369/f388b, P370/f390, P371/f392, P379/f402
M. F. RichlenPacific White-Sided DolphinP377/f399, P378/f401
M. RobbinsFalse Killer WhaleP381/f404
D. WellerCommon Bottlenose DolphinP383/f407
F. MathesonCommon Bottlenose DolphinP383/f409
NMFS permitCommon Bottlenose DolphinP385/f410
Hubbs-SeaWorld Research InstituteCuvier’s Beaked WhaleP391/f415


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