Friday, December 21, 2012

Dan's TED-X UCLA talk now posted

In October Dan gave a TED-X UCLA talk on the sound of fear that takes viewers on a marmot-inspired discussion of why certain sounds are fear inducing. The talk has just been posted to the TED-X site.

New members in the Blumstein Lab!

This quarter, I had the amazing experience of mentoring three great students that joined the marmot team! They are such eager workers and enthusiastic learners. Their goal for the quarter was sorting out the samples collected during the 2012 field season in RMBL and extracting fecal glucocorticoids. We are looking forward to have them as a part of the field team next summer!

Kate, Lilah and Xinping are now part of the Blumstein lab, and here they tell us a little bit about their experience this quarter. 

I’ll be honest. My job in the Blumstein Lab was pretty crappy. And I mean that in the most literally sense possible—this quarter I worked with marmot fecal samples so as to extract hormones, specifically looking at glucocorticoids levels. I also looked at the composition of marmot blood samples. I look forward to continuing my research involvement in the Lab next term, because, in reality, my job isn't crappy at all. It is fascinating work, with a great team, and I have really loved this interesting new experience.

My time working in the Blumstein Lab has been educational, motivational, and inspiring. I have enjoyed gaining hands-on research experience and learning valuable techniques, including glucocorticoid extraction and blood scoring. Working in the marmot lab has been a great step as I pursue a career of my own in this field, and I hope to return to continue working side by side with this great team of researchers!

Working in the lab has been a great experience as an undergraduate student at UCLA. Through professor Blumstein's lab, I have been exposed to different people who are passionate about their research. I've also gained knowledge and interest in animal behavior and I am looking forward to learning more about Marmots and animal behavior through upcoming research projects with Adriana.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Congratulations to Nicole Munoz, who has just passed her Oral Qualifying Exam and has advanced to Candidacy.  Nicole's dissertation develops a novel way to think about the evolution of multi-modal integration and then evaluating key predictions from her model with marmots. Results to date are intriguing and we're all excited to see where it goes!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Save a marmot: send blankets to Colorado!

My Huffington Post blog on the sorry state of the snowpack this winter and the consequences for hibernating marmots was just posted.  I must note that it's snowed a bit more, but there still is no huge snowpack and it's bitter cold there.  Pray for snow...

Friday, December 7, 2012

How important is long-term ecological research?

Here is a link to my recently published blog entry for the Huffington Post on the value of long-term ecological research.  Investigator-driven research generates novel information and, in a darwinian sense, generates substantial variation from which good ideas may emerge. Yet we, as a society, don't place much value on it.

Congratulations to Julien!

Julien Martin has just received news that he was successful in his Marie Curie fellowship application.  Julien will now move to the University of Exeter with Marie Curie support.  Congratulations to Julien!!