California Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary Celebration
150th Anniversary Celebration 150 Years: A Timeline 150 Years of Research The New Academy
Acting Department Chair and Collections Manager Douglas Long in the Ornithology & Mammalogy collections.
DEPARTMENT MILESTONES

1906
Earthquake and fire destroy collection of 25,000 birds and 11,000 mammals. Only two bird specimens — the now extinct Guadalupe Island storm petrels — are rescued. The Galápagos Expedition returns with Darwin’s finches, the nucleus of a new collection.

1936
Robert Orr becomes Curator, serving until 1963 when he becomes the Academy’s Associate Director, then Senior Scientist. His book, Vertebrate Zoology, is a standard biology text for generations of college students.

1970s
The Academy becomes part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, responding to all reported beach strandings from San Mateo through Sonoma Counties. Staff members record each animal death, collecting voucher specimens and forensic evidence indicating possible cause of death. Data are reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

1980
Luis Baptista studies language learning in living birds.

Anthropology | Aquatic Biology | Botany | Entomology | Herpetology | Ichthyology | IZG | Library | Ornithology & Mammalogy | Steinhart Aquarium | Morrison Planetarium | Education | Exhibits | Operations | Academy Store

Ornithology & Mammology | The Study Birds & Mammals

Feathers & Fur
The Department holds over 95,000 birds and 23,000 mammal specimens. Since 1906 their collection of Darwin’s finches has been the primary source material for island biogeographers and evolutionary biologists. The marine mammal collection is one of the most important in the Western Hemisphere.

Gathering Seabird Eggs – Big Business
In 1850, eggs sold for up to $1 each. Eggers scrambled up and down rocky cliffs on San Francisco’s Farallon Islands to raid seabird rookeries. The Academy was active in bringing about a landmark decree in 1897: “...traffic in any form in birds or eggs from the Farallones must cease by order of the U. S. Light House Department.”
Whale of a Career
Jacqueline Schonewald’s work spans over 50 years. As Senior Scientific Assistant, she studied marine mammals, and her data helped to establish government protection for whales and dolphins during the 1970s. Retired since 1984, Schonewald remains an active volunteer associate.

Bird Man
Curator Luis Baptista’s groundbreaking work on birdsong explains how some birds learn and “speak” distinct languages and dialects.

Listen and compare four Western U.S. song dialects of the white-crowned sparrow [ 180K Flash Movie]. Requires Flash Player.

 

150th Anniversary Celebration | 150 Years: A Timeline | 150 Years of Research | The New Academy

©2003 California Academy of Sciences

 

California Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary Celebration