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California Natural Diversity Database news updates

collage of photos - birds, flowers, salamander, butterfly, fisher, fish


Met a time traveler recently? They never seem to be in a hurry. Maybe that’s because their body plan has barely changed in the past 200 million years.

Turtles are humbling reminders of our place in history. In the blip of time that humans have existed, many cultures have been inspired to include turtles in their art and legends.

Sadly, an armored shell can’t protect against all dangers. Worldwide, link opens in new windowover half of all species of turtles and tortoises may be facing extinction in the near future.

Help us document and protect these ancient survivors by submitting your records of western pond turtle, desert tortoise, Sonoran mud turtle, and green sea turtle through our link opens in new windowOnline Field Survey Form.

Western pond turtles sun themselves on a winter's afternoon
Western pond turtles (a CA Species of Special Concern) sun themselves on a winter’s afternoon.

In preparation for this post, we were saddened to learn of the passing of CNDDB contributor Dr. Laurence Resseguie in 2017. We are grateful for Laurie’s tremendous contributions to Swainson’s hawk research in California.

Between 1998 and 2013, Dr. Resseguie submitted an incredible 1,695 field survey forms and reports to the California Natural Diversity Database; the vast majority of them for Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), a state threatened species. This data was used to map 492 SWHA occurrences across 42 quads and 6 counties. Laurie’s field work increased our understanding of the northern limits of the breeding range of SWHA in California.

Dr. Resseguie’s dedication to his work was unparalleled. He came out of retirement to assist CNDDB with updates for Swainson’s hawk records in 2013, driving down from his home in Washington State to locate nest sites with CNDDB staff member Rachel Freund. Rachel recalls Dr. Resseguie marveling at the determination of the nesting hawks as the birds attempted to shade their eggs from the glaring summer sun and 100-plus degree heat. Clearly, Laurie possessed a wide streak of that same determination.

Laurie’s legacy is an example of how one individual’s observations can make a great impact on wildlife conservation in California. Leave your mark today by submitting rare species detections through the link opens in new windowCNDDB Online Field Survey Form!

If you’d like to nominate an individual for CNDDB’s Contributor Spotlight, please email Rachel Freund at

Like California, New Zealand’s biodiversity continues to decline. New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna has been severely impacted by introduced mammalian predators and modified landscapes. Utilizing behavioral science research, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation is focusing on the role people can play in mitigating the decline. Case studies will include human-animal conflict, domestic cats and dogs, forest visitors spreading pathogens, and activating urban residents.

Date: Tuesday, May 21, 1-3 p.m.Science Institute logo
Location: Room 1131, 1416 9th Street, Sacramento CA
link opens in new windowRegister to view in-person or online.

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