Monday, January 26, 2015

Socially isolated marmots call more

Holly writes:

Adriana, Dan, and I recently published a paper in Behavioral Ecology examining whether social network position influenced marmot alarm calling. We identified two social attributes, popularity and relationship strength, and determined that socially isolated marmots called more frequently during behavioral observations and when caught in traps. We suspect that these marmots are calling directly at predators to try to scare them away or to try to increase their social status within their group. Our results open a pathway for further research dealing with antipredator behaviors and social network position.

This study has recently been picked up in ScienceShots, and hopefully we'll be learning more about these misfit marmots soon!

Ken's featured in Kansas City Star article

Ken was recently featured in a Kansas City Star magazine article about, you guessed it--marmots!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dan scares people at Nerd Nite LA

Dan gave a Sound of Fear talk at Nerd Nite LA.

Nerd Nite is a global phenomenon of public science and humanities talks--TED talks with beer--is how they were described to me.  In LA they occur monthly at The Mint...a Beverly Hills area bar. Kate went to one a few months ago and suggested that I give one.  I did last night and it was fun!

Sold out crowd last night for three talks...including one by me. Pictures below!

Me speaking...

Kate & Brandon...

Kaitlin and Ana (they avoided studying for their Weds AM final!)...

Other lab folks (I see Matt and Liliah and Tiffany)...

Dan on WBEZ's EcoMyth radio show

Dan was interviewed yesterday on WBEZ Chicago's EcoMyth radio show.  You can hear the interview here.  Scroll down to the marmot photo!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Recent Team Marmot Publications!

Just accepted!

•Blumstein, D.T., Flores, G., and N.E. Munoz. 2015. Does locomotor ability influence flight initiation distance in yellow-bellied marmots? Ethology
•Fuong, H., Maldonado-Chaparro, A., and D.T. Blumstein. 2015. Are social attributes associated with alarm calling propensity? Behavioral Ecology

2014 Team Marmot Papers published...please see The Marmots of RMBL for access to them.

•Blesdoe, E.K. and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. What is the sound of fear? Behavioral responses of white-crowned sparrows Zonotrichia leucophrys to synthesized nonlinear acoustic phenomena. Current Zoology 60: 534-541. [published on-line in 2013]
•Fouqueray, T.D., Blumstein, D.T., Monclús, R., and J.G.A. Martin. 2014. Maternal effects on anogenital distance in a wild marmot population. PLoS-ONE 9(3):e92718.
•Hettena, A., Munoz, N., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. Prey responses to predator’s sounds:  a review and empirical study. Ethology 120:427-452.
Maldonado-Chaparro, A., Martin, J.G.A., Armitage, K.B., Oli, M.K., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. Environmentally induced phenotypic variation in wild yellow-bellied marmots. Journal of Mammalogy
•Martin, J.G.A., Petelle, M.B., and D.T. Blumstein.  2014.  Environmental, social, morphological and behavioral constraints on opportunistic multiple paternity in yellow-bellied marmots. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 68: 1531-1538.
•Monclús, R., Pang, B., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. Yellow-bellied marmots do not compensate for a late start:  the role of maternal investment in shaping life-history trajectories. Evolutionary Ecology 28: 721-733.
•Monclús, R., von Holst, D., Blumstein, D.T. and H.G. Rödel. 2014. Long-term effects of litter sex ratio on female reproduction in two iteroparous mammals. Functional Ecology 28: 954-962.
•Petelle, M.B. and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. A critical evaluation of subjective ratings: unacquainted observers can reliably assess personality. Current Zoology [published on-line in 2013]
•Price, M.V., Strombom, H., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. Human activity affects the perception of risk by mule deer. Current Zoology 60: 693-699.
•Wey, T.W., Lin, L., Patton, M.L., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014  Stress hormone metabolites predict overwinter survival in yellow-bellied marmots. Acta Ethologica DOI 10.1007/s10211-014-0204-6
•Williams, D.M., Samia, D.S.M., Cooper, W.E. Jr., and D.T. Blumstein. 2014. The flush early and avoid the rush hypothesis holds after accounting for spontaneous behavior. Behavioral Ecology 25: 1136-1147.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Camera trapping at RMBL

I meant to post these months ago, when the excitement from all these pictures was still fresh, but of course, since being back at UCLA, I have been very busy catching up with analyses and teaching and things...

Sometime in August, I was out scouting for new marmot colonies in the valley where we do our research and I came across this really strong animal trail that I quickly named the "big game super highway". I hadn't actually seen any animals up there, but the trail looked so good that I knew I had to put some trail cameras up.

This tree seemed like it would provide a really good angle, and what do you know? Some bear must have used it as a back-scratching post because it had bear hair all over it, so I took that as a good sign for that particular location.

In total, I got pictures of  9 species (including 2 hikers) during the 3 weeks that it was up, which I thought was pretty impressive. Here are a few of the highlights:

 An adorable elk calf and his gang (yes, a group of elk = a gang)

Adult bull elk showing off his summer rack

My wildlife detective skills were totally validated!

There appear to be 3 sets of eye shine behind this black bear, suggesting a female with 3 cubs in tow.

This bear looks pretty hefty and kind of scratched up, so I'm guessing he is a male.  Luckily, he didn't stop to scratch his back/break my camera this particular day.

2 coyotes. They are most likely a mating pair out hunting together.

There were several marmots that would sun themselves on the logs here. New colony discovered!

And the sighting that literally made me jump out of my seat...
Mountain lion! AKA puma, AKA cougar
I still can't believe that I got this shot. I had seen puma scat near this trail previously, so I knew at least one lion was using the area, but I was absolutely thrilled to catch this on my camera.

I am looking forward to putting a camera up here again next year as well as finding new jackpot sites like this.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My first marmot season and memorable marmots

Hi everyone!

I’m Svenja Kroeger, a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen (UK, Scotland) under supervision of Dr. Julien Martin and Prof. Jane Reid. I study senescence in yellow-bellied marmots and over the summer I spent three months at RMBL to help with the data collection for this long-term study. I’ve had an awesome time observing and trapping these adorable creatures and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them next year too!

 Over the last months I’ve grown really fond of a lot of the animals that I’ve been observing, so I’d like to not only introduce myself but also a couple of memorable marmots that I’ve encountered during my time here. In the picture above I’m holding the sweetest and smallest pup I’ve ever had the joy of getting my hands on: ‘Ghost’ - a tiny lady, weighing a mere 250 grams when she first emerged. Her name stems from the fur mark on her back, which resembles the ghost in ‘pacman’.

Another marmot that has definitely conquered my heart is this handsome guy in the picture below, a sturdy male by the name of ‘Dandelion’ (aka ‘Dandy’). In fact he is the first marmot I ever named! I’ve spent a lot of time watching him as he is fairly comfortable with people nearby. Also, he’s sort of ‘the man’ in Gothic town at the moment and as his name suggests he LOVES dandelions! I can’t wait to see him again next year!