Georeference Inventory of SUNY Plattsburgh's Taxidermy Collection
In the midst of global climate change, invasive species, habitat loss/fragmentation, and pollution, which leads to local extirpation and extinction, taxidermy collections are essential in educating the public on the importance of natural history. Documentation of where specimens are collected is critical to understanding mammal range shifts in this time of global change. The goal of this inventory was to georeference SUNY Plattsburgh's taxidermy collection to assess whether there were some regional hotspots of collection that might be sources of sampling in the future. Georeferencing included noting species name, collection site, morphological measurements, as well as other information on the voucher specimen tag and importing that into GIS. Approximately, half of all the voucher specimens in the collection were unmarked, 35% were collected from Clinton County (19% Plattsburgh), and 10% from Essex County (3% Lewis). All specimens documented were collected from New York State. Several unique specimens were documented including a bobcat (Lynx rufus), black bear (Ursus americanus), fisher (Martes pennan), red (Vulpes vulpes) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteous). Small mammals, including deer mice and white-footed mice (Peromyscus spp., 15%), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonious, 10%), and snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus, 8%) were among the most abundant voucher species. The importance of continued sampling in these same voucher collection sites, might prove helpful when tracking range expansions as climate changes over the next century. SUNY Plattsburgh's snowshoe hare voucher specimens correspond to the southern edge of the historic range of the species and span the border of that range across four counties (e.g., Clinton, Essex, Warren, Ulster). Future implications for this information may include documentation of shifts in their southern range boarder as local conditions change in response to anthropogenic effects.
Student poster, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh