Friday, July 1, 2011

Marmot days of summer

July is here and it is officially summer at RMBL.

Most of the snow has melted from the mountains and this water is helping to turn the landscape green.

The vegetation is now growing, waterfalls are rushing, and flowers are blooming.

Marmots enjoy the benefits of this extra cover because it provides them with new opportunities to forage.

They also use tall vegetation, such that shown below, to seek protection when faced with predation risk.

Of course, because this extra food brings multiple marmots out of their burrows to forage at once, marmots are also spending much of their active time socializing with their group-mates.

We paint a unique dye mark on the back of each marmot to keep track of which animal is which. For example, you can see "Y" is the adult female on the rock in the middle of the photo below.

Team marmot is now busy recording social behavior and trapping marmots from our study population. However, not all of the marmots are easily convinced that they should go
inside of our traps!

Luckily, for Team Marmot, our days in the mountains are long, so we can take full advantage of this active time to collect data and spend many hours surrounded by beautiful scenery. Yes, the life of a marmoteer is certainly rough these days.

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