This is my second summer in RMBL as a marmoteer. I was previously here in 2013 working on whether spontaneous behaviors are mistaken for flight initiation distances (they weren't!). After working here, I got to travel and work on some pretty cool projects, like training Burrowing Bettongs to avoid cats at Arid Recovery in South Australia and hanging out with the Meerkats of Meerkat Manor in South Africa. This year, I’m excited to be able to return to RMBL as a graduate student!
I’m studying innovation and social learning in the marmots. An innovation is either a completely new behavior that an individual is able to use or an old behavior that an animal is able to use in a new way. To test how innovative marmots can be, we are using a puzzle box, which has two solutions for the marmots to attempt to solve in order to get their beloved horse food. So far, we’ve had four innovating individuals(!) and several more individuals who are more interested in eating the plywood platforms or the cameras than solving the box. Marmots will be marmots! However, we’ve got a lot of great videos that we hope to be sharing!
It has been a great season so far and we’re looking forwards to more!