A crucial step in assessing biodiversity is listing the species that occur in an area. This activity has been shaped by the expertise of the faculty who have studied the campus, so that accounts of plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians began in the 1980s (if there were earlier accounts, they have been lost). A number of important groups have no species lists, because they have not been surveyed on campus, or the surveys have never been published. Chief among these are the insects.
Seven plants and animals that are known or suspected to occur at Cal Poly Pomona are rare enough that they have either been singled out for legal protection or noted as needing careful monitoring.
The harvester ant Pogonomyrmex californicus builds its nests in open areas.