Friday, April 29, 2016

Geoffroy introduction!

Hello I'm Geoffroy Saint-Aimé, a French student and temporary member of the marmots team!
I am at RMBL during this spring to develop one of the requisites of my Master program.
It's a great opportunity to work at RMBL, and observing the marmots emerging from hibernation and interacting. I am being advised by the Professor Daniel Blumstein to look into the socials effects of emergence on marmots, relations between emergence and dominance among socials animals.

Coming from France, it was a great adventure to live in the US, and going in a snow-mountain was a kid's dream. Acclimatization to the new conditions of altitude and temperature was really rough, but I'm enjoying the snow. I really appreciate the life here and the landscape, it's a new horizon for me. I will not be here for long, but I had already a great experience by meeting foxes, deers, and of course marmots. This experience is a great personal achievement and is improving my scientific skills. I am with Gabi and Ana, two exceptional members of the marmots team, and thanks to them I was able to learn several interesting things about marmots and some good stories about RMBL.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kid’s Nature Camp meets our local marmots!

Lilah Hubbard writes:

A very important part of conducting research is teaching the public about what we do and what results we find. One of the most important and fun groups that we teach are the children at the Kid’s Nature Camp located here at RMBL. This summer, Tiffany and I have been lucky enough to spend some time with the camp and show them what we do!

Photo by Julie Byle

Last week, we trapped 4 of this year’s pups and showed them how we identify, handle, weigh, and measure the animals. We also used RMBL’s taxidermy specimens to let the kids see a marmot up close and feel its fur!
Photo by Julie Byle

We each had a lot of fun working with the campers and answering all of their great questions about marmots. One of my personal favorites was a question that came up after I showed the kids how we measure a marmot’s hind foot: “So when will the marmots get their shoes?”

Photo by Julie Byle

And here is a shot of Gothic Mountain from a rainy morning last week!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Encounter with the albino marmot!

Hello everybody, I have exciting news! I was off last week and had the most fantastic marmot-related experience yet! My partner was visiting from Scotland and we were driving up valley to go hiking. We stopped along the way to have lunch and at some point he beckoned me to walk over quietly to where he was standing, whilst excitedly pointing down the hill. I thought he had seen a mule deer, a chipmunk or some other form of wildlife that I had come across many times before during my time here in Gothic, I certainly never expected him to point at an albino marmot, sitting on its back legs, staring at us. I quickly grabbed my camera to capture the moment, and I’m sure most people would agree that this curious animal amidst the wildflowers of Colorado offers a beautiful sight (see picture below). The marmot was spotted and photographed last year as well, however it remains a rare sighting, and of course albino marmots are a rare occurrence in nature in general. I am thrilled that this year, I was lucky enough to see this wondrous creature (we called him Alberto, though I’m not sure whether or not it is a male animal), especially because this is my last field season in the Rockies. 

Marmot-y greetings to you all! 


Friday, July 17, 2015

Nevada's marmot monument!

Check out this news piece about a marmot monument carved into a cottonwood tree stump at a golf course in Reno, NV.  Gotta love that club!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Woodchucks and marmoteers in the news

Susan and Joe Sam's woodchuck filming has been featured in a local newspaper.  Check out the article in the Tri-City Times.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

More woodchuck videos...

Ok, first and admission: I am not on Facebook.  There, now that that's done, if you like good marmot videos Sue and Joe have been creating many really interesting stories about the woodchucks that live in their backyard and have been filming the 'chucks and their behavior for a while now.  They have a Facebook page Woodchuck Wonderland that contains many of these stories.  Worth a look!  They've seen a lot of really interesting social behavior in this species that is typically considered not that social.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marmot Matchup: “Five-dice-dots” vs. “Female-sign”

Lilah Hubbard writes:

Usually all the marmot drama happens in the early season (April-May), but last week I was lucky enough to witness a close-up marmot fight between two of the biggest males at one of our colonies!
The contestants? “Five-dice-dots” vs. “Female-sign” (I know, something isn’t quite right about putting that fur mark on a male…).

While I was walking around the area to see if any litters of pups had emerged, I came across these two rolling around and aggressively biting each other right around the area where their two territories connect. Although I was only a few meters away, they didn’t seem bothered by my presence and continued fighting for a couple minutes. The most surprising part of the fight was that, aside from some loud ‘puff’ noises, they were completely silent!

Check out the video to see if you can distinguish the marks and identify the champion!


The ultimate champion? “Five-dice-dots!”