Friday, August 3, 2018

Student talks 2018!

Wow: what a busy summer. I've been tweeting to our TeamMarmot twitter account but have had no time to blog...

I just left the field following an excellent research symposium featuring Team Marmot.  Photos below:

Julia talking about human impacts...

Catherine talking about marmot innovation...

Eliza talking about human disturbance at marmot colonies...

Anita talking about how marmots may increase summer survival if they are more social...

Katherine talking about a communication network in white-crowned sparrows...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Welcome Alex!

Hello, my name is Alexandra Jebb and I am a first year PhD student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. I have been lucky enough to be selected to work on the Marmot Project by my supervisor Julien Martin and was very excited to get started!

I will be working on ecological and evolutionary topics by combining investigations in to the long-term data and laboratory analysis of physiological markers in blood samples. My key aim is to look into adaptive concepts such as the predictive effects of early life environment on how well suited an individual is to their adult environment (focussing on Silver Spoon Effects and the Predictive Adaptive Response).

So far I have been well looked after by the marmot team and Dan and have been learning to handle individuals and to observe the colonies. Already I have been charmed by these animals and their quirks and can't wait to spend many more months in their company! 

Please feel free to follow my twitter @AHMJebb1 if you want to see how I get on!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

early June update

I've been back out in the field since Memorial Day and it's been crazy busy. Julien has been visiting and we're all working on a new workflow to use tablet computers to save time updating all the trap bags. I've always been skeptical of using tablets for data collection because if you collect data and they break before they can be backed up you've lost everything, and because you can do a lot with data sheets and notes which then later get abstracted into formal electronic data sheets for analysis. Anyway, after a lot of discussion, we're taking the plunge. Data will still be written down on paper when we're trapping animals but it will be entered into the computer immediately upon return to the lab and all the tablets will sync with the newest trapping data. This should save a lot of time. Julien has programmed in a lot of checks on data to hopefully reduce entry errors. Fingers crossed.

Gizmodo was here the other day filming the marmot project as part of a series on field stations around the world. Excited to see what emerges from that.

Trapping is going well, but since there's so much delicious green food around, marmots are a bit less interested in our bait. Oh well. The challenges of fieldwork.

Ipek Kulachi, a postdoc who studies cognition in the wild, has been visiting. We've been talking a bunch about possible projects.

We're still training new people as they arrive. Julien came with his graduate student Alex, who will introduce herself shortly. Three more new folks to go!

RMBL summer program is officially beginning today. The valley is beginning to get busy and I'm spending my 'day off' catching up with correspondence and other projects. Back to that!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Welcome Anita Montero

My name is Anita Montero and I am a rising senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, studying biology and sociology. I am interested in behavioral ecology, particularly mammal sociality. I am also interested in the process of using scientific knowledge to further conservation efforts and improve land management strategies. 

Last summer I interned at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, researching the impact of ocean acidification on zooplankton. During the school year, I work at a paleoecology biogeochemistry lab at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and I just completed an ecology and evolution field semester in Kenya. 

I’ve loved marmots for a few years now and was excited to meet some Olympic marmots while living in Seattle last summer, so working on this project is a dream come true. It’s a privilege to work on such a long-running field study, particularly in a year with abnormally low snowfall. This summer I’m looking forward to working with team marmot to puzzle out the relationship between social integration and summer survival. So far I’ve enjoyed learning animal handling techniques and getting to know the marmots here at Rocky Mountain Biological Station. They all have such unique personalities! 

Welcome Julia Nelson!

I’m Julia! I’m a rising third year undergrad student and Levine Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte studying Biology. My previous research includes looking at microbial communities in ocean water and studying the impact of climate change on butterfly location and occurrence. In the fall, I will be joining NC State's Wildlife Aerial Observatory program researching how drones can be used in anti-poaching efforts in Namibia. I am still in the process of discovering what I want to study long-term, but I'm currently interested in researching trophic cascades as a reason for the reintroduction/preservation of keystone species. 

I will be in Gothic, Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory doing a human impact study on marmots for the summer; specifically how motorized vehicles, bicycles, and hikers impact different physiological traits in marmots. As an avid hiker and aspiring ecologist, I'm excited to combine these two personal identities through field work. I look forward to gaining experience in handling critters safely, contributing to a long-term research database, and taking steps towards figuring out where I want to ultimately go in research and conservation. I’ve been at RMBL for almost two weeks now and I’m so excited to continue to learn from Alyssa, Dana, and Dr. Blumstein and to meet the other members of Team Marmot!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Team Marmot is now (finally) on Twitter

Bowing to the tremendous pressure from our fans, we've now joined the last decade and are now sharing our marmot news on Twitter! We'll post the newest information on who is courting whom and who is fighting with whom. And news about the pups and publications.

Follow us at:

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Welcome Alyssa Morgan

My name is Alyssa Morgan, a current Masters student in the Blumstein lab at UCLA and I am broadly interested in anthropogenic disturbance effects. My current work aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of anthropogenic disturbance on yellow bellied marmots at RMBL.

Previously work includes looking at chierchiae octopus reproduction at UC Berkeley, habitat fragmentation impacts on arthropod fauna at Whittier College, and restoration efforts effects in the Santa Monica Mountains alongside the SM National Park Service.

This is my first time doing field work outside of the southwest so I'm excited to study a new environment and seeing snow for the first time was amazing (and quite cold)!