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MVZ Biologists Revisit Yosemite Transects
Between May and September 2003, MVZ biologists revisited faunal survey transects in Yosemite National Park first done by Joseph Grinnell and others between 1914 and 1920. The original work netted thousands of specimens and resulted in a major publication, Animal Life in Yosemite. The current project is hoped to be a similar, multiyear survey of many of the same places, but also some new ones. The San Josť Mercury News interviewed and photographed part of the field crews at Glenn Aulin (http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/6602469.htm).

The MVZ Loses Three Close Colleagues
This has been a very sad year for the Museum.

Dr. Oliver Payne Pearson, former Director (1967-1971) and Curator of Mammals as well as Professor Emeritus of Zoology, passed away 4 March 2003 at the age of 87. Paynie's family has developed a memorial web page and welcomes stories, thoughts, and/or photos from friends and associates.
UC Berkeley press release

Dr. Ned Keith Johnson, Curator of Birds and Professor of Integrative Biology, passed away 11 June 2003 at age 70 after a long struggle with cancer. Ned was scheduled to retire at the end of June. He began his career at the University in 1956, when he started his Ph.D training under the guidance of Alden H. Miller. A tribute to Ned's life was held on 20-21 Sept 2003.
UC Berkeley press release

Frank Alois Pitelka, Professor Emeritus of Zoology and former Curator of Birds (1949-1963), passed away 10 October 2003 at the age of 87 from complications of cancer. Franks also served for many years as Associate Director of the Museum, with primary responsibility for the Hastings Natural History Reservation in Carmel Valley, California. A campus memorial is being planned for next spring.
UC Berkeley press release

Dr. Jimmy McGuire Joins the Faculty and Curatorial Staff at UCB
The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology welcome Dr. Jimmy A. McGuire as a new Assistant Curator of Herpetology and Assistant Professor. Jim received his Ph.D in 1998 from the University of Texas Austin, and just moved to Berkeley from Louisiana State University. His current research focuses on phylogenetics and biomechanics of flying lizards (genus Draco) and hummingbirds.

Understanding the Tree of Life: A Symposium Sponsored by the Berkeley Natural History Museums
The Berkeley Natural History Museums sponsored a full day of lectures on the Tree of Life Project, a current collaborative effort among biologists to assemble a genealogical map for all 1.7 million described species. This event occurred on 1 February 2003 in the Valley Life Sciences Building on the UC Berkeley campus.

The MVZ Featured in The Berkeleyan
The 24 October 2002 issue of the campus newspaper The Berkeleyan featured a story about the collections, curators, and program of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. This story highlighted the role of the Museum in research and education on the Berkeley campus, as well as its broader impacts through bioinformatics and studies of evolution, biodiversity, and conservation.

Cal Day: Critters, Creepers, and Crawlers - Discover Animal Diversity at the MVZ
The Museum hosted its annual Cal Day open house on 12 April 2003. Over 1400 visitors came to the Museum, where they viewed special displays that highlighted the collections and diversity of vertebrates. Visitors also got a chance to see and handle a variety of live animals, including snakes, and to chat with faculty, staff, and students about research or classes on biology and natural history at UC Berkeley. Click here for pictures from Cal Day 2002.

The MaNIS Project
The Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, in collaboration with 16 other North American institutions, received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop an integrated network for distributed databases of mammal specimen data. The objectives of this Mammal Networked Information System (MaNIS) are to 1) facilitate open access to combined specimen data from a web browser, 2) enhance the value of specimen collections, 3) conserve curatorial resources, and 4) use a design paradigm that can be easily adopted by other disciplines with similar needs. MaNIS is designed to achieve these objectives while avoiding both the long-term, external maintenance of a network and the centralized management of data. Development of this networked information system addresses the urgent call for natural history museums to come together to build and support a biodiversity informatics infrastructure in an open, collaborative manner.

The HerpNet Project
The MVZ, in collaboration with the University of Kansas, has secured funding from the National Science Foundation to co-manage the creation of a distributed database of herpetological specimens. Thirty-six (36) institutions from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are involved in HerpNET, which follows in the footsteps of MaNIS (see above). HerpNET aims to increase accessibility of herpetological museum specimens by offering access through a single web portal and to translate specimen collection data into a common standard making the data available for environmental studies using software and analyses such as GIS.

Happenings at the Hastings Natural History Reservation
Hastings Reservation continues to be a hub of research activity. Ongoing projects include studies of western bluebirds and mistletoe, brown towhees, turkeys, acorn woodpeckers, voles, deer mice, grasslands, oak ecology and disease, and pollinating insects (see photo of researchers at Hastings during the 2002 summer season). The impact of Sudden Oak Death syndrome on California's oak woodland birds also is a topic of great interest. Hastings regularly hosts classes and workshops for students and the general public, and Mark Stromberg (Reserve Manager) is actively involved in a variety of management activities with private landowners, governmental agencies, and non-government organizations from the Monterey region. Other news is posted on the Finch Creek Gazette, the Hastings newsletter.

Click here for a schedule of events sponsored by the Berkeley Natural History Museums.


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