While new data gathered this summer have not yet been thoroughly analyzed, a few surprises have already emerged. In Yosemite Valley, the formerly most abundant species of shrew has been supplanted by a species previously known only from higher elevations in the park. And, while looking at mammals in the northwest corner of the park around Merced Grove and Crane Flat, the scientists discovered that the golden mantled ground squirrel had disappeared from many areas, essentially moving to elevations 500 feet higher.
Joseph Grinnell was an eminent biologist of the early 20th century, known for his concept of the ecological niche - the role an organism plays in the broader ecology of an area - and for his insistence on systematic and careful surveys of wildlife. Desiring to establish a research center that would rival the major natural history museums of the East Coast and Europe, he accepted an offer in 1908 to create the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley. He directed it until his death in 1939, realizing his dream and influencing generations of biologists in the areas of ecology, vertebrate systematics and evolutionary biology.
"What's astonishing about Grinnell's work - and the only reason we can do this resurvey now - is the extent to which he kept highly detailed records. His field notes are extraordinary," said Moritz, an evolutionary biologist who specializes in lizards of the Australian rain forests. "He set up a whole system of taking field notes that's been perpetuated through the history of the museum and has spread out to other places as well. What makes this museum special is that we have so much data per specimen. and it's so well organized. That's Grinnell's legacy."