Joseph Grinnell

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Joseph Grinnell (born February 27, 1877 at Fort Sill , Oklahoma , † May 29, 1939 in Berkeley (California) ) was an American zoologist (especially ornithologist ).

Joseph Grinnell, 1901

life and work

Grinnell was the son of a doctor who worked on government contracts on Indian reservations. He grew up in Pasadena (California) and studied at the Throop Institute (later Caltech ) with a bachelor's degree in 1897. He was then an assistant and instructor for zoology. In the winter of 1896 and 1898/99 he studied birds in Alaska. In 1900 he received his masters degree from Stanford University and taught at Palo Alto High School and the Throop Institute. In 1913 he received his doctorate (An Account of the Mammals and Birds of the Lower Colorado Valley with Especial Reference to the Distributional Problems) after he had to break off his work on a dissertation in 1903 because of typhoid fever. In 1913 he became Assistant Professor, 1917 Associate Professor and 1920 Professor at Berkeley.

From 1908 to 1939 he headed the Museum of Zoology at the University of California (founded by Annie Montague Alexander ). He dealt in particular with mammals and birds (but also amphibians, reptiles) in California and collected over 20,000 specimens. He has over 550 publications.

He campaigned for nature conservation and the national park system . His essay Animal Life as an Asset to National Parks with Tracy Irwin Storer (1889–1973) (in Science, September 15, 1916) was influential, which led to the fact that in the US national parks the focus slowly shifted from the development of tourist potential shifted towards ecological education. For the first time, biologists were hired to offer guided tours and organize exhibitions. In 1924 he introduced the concept of the ecological niche .

A Grinnell Resurvey Project launched by the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in 2002 builds on its accurate mapping of the fauna of California.

He developed a method named after him for biological field observations and their documentation. He was the editor of the Cooper Ornithological Club's ornithological journal The Condor . He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1929 .

Taxa named after Grinnell

After Grinnell some Tiertaxa are named, including the Ringelschleichenart Anni Ella grinnelli , the mammal subspecies Procyon lotor grinnelli (now synonymous with the nominate) Scapanus latimanus grinnelli , Tamias (Neotamias) dorsalis grinnelli and Vogeltaxa Regulus cannendula grinnelli , Glaucidium californicum grinnelli , poecile gambeli grinnelli , Agelaius phoeniceus grinnelli , Loxia curvirostra grinnelli , Lanius ludovicianus grinnelli , Selasphorus sasin grinnelli and Carpodacus mexicanus grinnelli .


  • An Account of the Mammals and Birds of the Lower Colorado Valley with Especial Reference to the Distributional Problems, 1914, Reprint Arno Press 1978
  • Birds of the Kotzebue sound region, Alaska, 1900
  • with Harold Child Bryant, Tracy Irwin Storer: The game birds of California, University of California Press 1918
  • Animal Life in the Yosemite 1924
  • Animal Life as an Asset of National Parks 1916
  • Vertebrate Natural History of a Section of Northern California through the Lassen Peak Region 1930
  • Vertebrate Animals of Point Lobos Reserve 1936
  • with Jean M. Linsdale, Joseph S. Dixon: Fur-bearing Mammals of California 1937
  • Gold hunting in Alaska, 1901
  • Joseph Grinnell's philosophy of nature; selected writings of a western naturalist, Freeport, NY 1968

Web links

Commons : Joseph Grinnell  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alfred Runte: "Animal Life As An Asset Of National Parks," A Path-Breaking Essay , Nationalparkstraveler September 18, 2016