CSU Listening Lab
The Colorado State University Listening Lab was established in 2013 as a collaboration with the Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division of the National Park Service. The primary goal of the lab is to aid in the preservation and understanding of natural soundscapes by providing a resource to efficiently analyze the thousands of hours of acoustic data collected each year within parks, allowing park officials and scientists to promptly employ effective soundscape management decisions where needed.
The lab typically employs 5 to 10 well-trained undergraduate student listeners to analyze the acoustic data that our NPS Scientists & Research Associates record within national parks around the country. Many of our student listeners are also enrolled in the University Honors Program and use their time in the lab to complete their honors theses. These students have moved beyond basic data analysis and have explored how noise affects the natural world to produce the following theses:
Undergraduate Honors Theses
- The effects of human visitation on the behavior and relative abundance of Brandt's cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) on Alcatraz Island -- Reina Galvan
- Acoustic analysis of the Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) -- Sean Williams
- Changes in bioacoustic activity related to wind turbine operation -- Sam Bietsch
- A comparative analysis of soundscapes: Peru vs. the United States -- Sara Brandenburg
- Quantifying fine scale foraging behavior using acoustic monitoring of mule deer -- Alex Avrin
- Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) altered alarm call function in presence of pups -- Grete Wilson-Henjum
- Evaluation of wildlife acoustic detection methods using camera traps -- Tyler Asnicar
In order to futher the impact of their work, several of our students have gone on to present their research at local and national conferences/symposia. Below are a few examples of their scientific outreach:
- Pup Presence Impact on Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) Alarm Call -- CURC, Colorado State University
- Effects of Anthropogenic Noise from Oil and Gas Development on Bat Activity in the Piceance Basin -- FRSES, Colorado State University
- Discovering patterns of biological and anthropogenic activity at National Park of American Samoa using underwater acoustical monitoring -- MURALS, Colorado State University & CURC, Colorado State University
- Tailoring the analysis of bat acoustic recordings to ecological research goals: effects of changing software parameters -- Western Bat Working Group Meeting, Fort Collins, CO
- Multi-scale occupancy estimation using NABat data in Colorado: effects of noise, clutter, and weather -- Western Bat Working Group Meeting, Fort Collins, CO
Sounds of Nature & Stories from Science
In the fall of 2016, our team partnered with Yellowstone National Park to create the 'Sounds of Nature & Stories from Science' project. Our aim is to better train young adults to be effective communicators of conservation and science to the general public, while preserving the natural sounds of Yellowstone National Park via audio recordings. We have employed two undergraduate students that will aid the park in producing natural sounds recordings for the Yellowstone Sound Library, as well as high quality radio style conservation stories.
Click below to listen to an audio story about the Listening Lab.
To help manage the analysis of acoustic data, as well as student research projects, Dr. Jacob Job was welcomed to the team as Listening Lab manager in 2015. If you are a student at Colorado State University and are interested in becoming a team member in the Listening Lab, you should contact Dr. Job at soundandlightecologyteam 'at' gmail 'dot' com.
I am originally from Louisiana, but my family moved to Colorado in 2002. I decided to attend CSU because it allowed me to enroll in a great science program, while keeping me close to my family. I began work in the lab in 2015 because it was really important to me to spend at least part of my time here at CSU contributing to something bigger than myself and the lab offered that opportunity. My favorite aspect of the job is listening to the rainfall and all the different animals in the parks. I'm not sure what my plans are post-graduation, but I am interested in wildlife rehabilitation. Working in the Listening Lab will help me with this goal because it has taught me the importance of staying focused and paying attention to details.
I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, exploring the southern Rocky Mountains, which sparked my passion for the natural world. During my second year at Colorado State University I decided to pursue that passion by majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Biology. I wanted to work in the Listening Lab to futher understand the effects that humans have on wildlife behavior. After graduation, I plan to continue my research with human/wildlife interactions in order to help preserve the natural world for generations to come.
I am a Wildlife Biology student, and ever since coming to Colorado State University I have sought out out every opportunity to gain experience in the fields of biology and conservation. Thus far, this has included participating in an internship for songbird ecology research in Illinois, starting a club at CSU for beekeeping, volunteering at a local wolf sanctuary, and working in the listening lab. After graduating, I aspire to continue taking on diverse roles in my path to becoming a leader in conservation and wildlife research.
I am from Madison, Wisconsin and am a freshman majoring in Conservation Biology at CSU. Before coming to CSU, I took a year off from school to travel, work, and gain more life experience. Some of my favorite experiences included my trips to Costa Rica and Australia, as well as my summer job at the UW-Madison Arboretum. I came to CSU for the great conservation program and have fallen in love with the mountains and the community. I am very excited to work in the lab on the Yellowstone science communication project and to learn about acoustic ecology and science communication.
I started working in the Listening Lab in 2015 after reading about the impact of the lab on the natural world. I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of the group. My favorite part about working in lab is getting the opportunity to gain new skills, interact with some amazing individuals, and knowing that I'm helping to make a positive impact on the world. I've always believed that one does not have to wait to earn a degree to start making a positive impact on the world, and working in this lab has allowed me to do just that. After graduation, I plan to do field work before going back to school to earn my Master's degree in order to help with wildlife conservation efforts, while incoporating work with indigenous rights issues. I would also like to work with children from low-income and under-represented communities to help provide opportunities for them to learn about and build a stronger connection to the natural world.
I am from the small town of Indiana, Pennsylvania. My family vacationed to the national parks often, sparking my interest to work for the National Park Service. I began my career at Colorado State University as a biochemistry major before switching my major to Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology to finally pursue the career that I had always wanted. Music and the outdoors are two of my favorite things, and additionally I have a particular interest in how humans affect wildlife, spatially and acoustically, which is what brought me to the Listening Lab. After graduation, I plan on traveling and working in the field, but eventually I hope to work for the National Park Service.
I am a Conservation Biology major originally from Greeley, Colorado. I came to CSU for their conservation and wildlife biology programs and began working in the listening lab in 2015. As someone who has always had a passion for sound, both artificial and natural, I knew that I had to get involved. My favorite part of working in the lab is the fact that I get to acoustically experience so many different natural areas from around the country. After graduating, I hope to have a career with the National Park Service, ideally applying the bioacoustic experience gained from my time in the Listening Lab.
I was born and raised in the small mountain town of Fairplay, Colorado where I developed a deep passion for natural resources at a young age. I am pursuing a major is Wildlife Biology with a minor in Range Ecology, with a future goal of working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a wildlife officer in Colorado. I will use what I have learned from my classes, as well as knowledge I'll gain while working at the Listening Lab to best manage the state's natural resources. With my free time, I am generally found in the field hunting or fishing.
I grew up in southern California and came to Colorado State University originally for pre-vet coursework, but eventually switched my major to Wildlife Biology. Working in the Listening Lab appealed to me because it allows me to take an active role in conservation and I think studying noises in the environment can offer interesting insights into how different factors affect the natural world. I absolutely love nature, especially the conservation and preservation side of things, and want to keep the environment healthy for generations to enjoy!
I am from Colorado Springs, Colorado and decided to attend Colorado State University for its pristine location that would allow me to connect with nature. I am extremely passionate about environmental sustainability, and believe that our planet is sacred and we need to learn as much about it as we can and use this knowledge to protect it. I have a background in music and audio editing, which seemed like a natural fit for working in the Listening Lab. I am excited for my involvement and the opportunity to contribute to environmental knowledge and education!
I am originally from Fort Worth, Texas and came to CSU and the Warner College of Natural Resources to major in Wildlife Biology due to my love for the outdoors and wildlife. Ever since I have expanded my knowledge of conservation, and sought opportunities to gain practical experience as well as share my passion with others. After graduating I hope to gain experience monitoring bat populations before eventually returning to school for a masters degree. I am excited to work on the Yellowstone Science Communication position so that I can inspire a love for wildlife and the environment in others!
I came to CSU because of its scientific reputation and quickly fell in love with the Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology major. I started working in the Listening Lab in 2015 because I wanted to learn about acoustic analysis. Since working in the lab, my interest and appreciation for natural sounds has grown immensely. I particularly enjoy the puzzle of deciphering acoustic data and especially love hearing things I have never heard before. After graduating, I plan to contribute meaningful work to conservation efforts locally and abroad. I would especially like to continue research with auditory analysis on bats and marine mammals in the United States and Mexico, while also contributing to restoration efforts in the Front Range and Rocky Mountains.
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, but was drawn to Colorado by its beautiful landscapes and towering cliffs. I arrived at Colorado State University as a Social Work major, but quickly realized my passion for conservation after spending time rock climbing around the state and decided to switch my major to Wildlife Biology. I felt that joining the Listening Lab would allow me to hone my passion for bird and bat conservation and am ecstatic to have the opportunity to benefit the natural communities surrounding me as a way to repay the joy they have brought me. I hope that the skills I gather in the Listening Lab will allow me to continue to serve the ecological communities surrounding me wherever I end up professionally.
Since completing her 2.5 years in the Listening Lab, Alex has worked as a wildlife technician working with various species of bats and Greater Prairie Chickens. Alex plans to enroll in graduate school in the near future.
Colton grew up in Parker, Colorado and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. He enjoys most things outdoors, from fishing and biking to diving. Colton is currently working in the larval fish lab at CSU, conducting non-native species removal in the Yampa River in Colorado.
Gabby is currently a senior, majoring in forestry and rangeland ecology. Gabby hopes to utilize what she learned about soundscapes and human noise in the Listening Lab in her future career working with either the Bureau of Land Management or the United States Forest Service.
Meredith was a member of the lab from 2014-2015.
Reina was a member of the lab from 2014-2015.
Sam was a member of the lab from 2013-2016. During her time with the Listening Lab, she worked on understanding soundscapes of different National Parks through attended listening. She also worked on special projects including the development of a sound library for Gates of the Arctic National Park in Alaska and Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Her final project with the Listening Lab and Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division involved the monitoring of underwater soundscapes in the Florida Bay of Everglades National Park. This research has aided in our understanding of underwater soundscapes, and will hopefully lead to further research of the impacts of seagrass die-off events on these soundscapes. Sam is currently working as a zookeeper at a small zoo in her hometown of West Bend, Wisconsin and is enjoying the opportunity to work closely with native North American species that she studied while in college at Colorado State.
After leaving the lab, Taylor worked as a counselor at Keystone Science School in Keystone,CO before transitioning to a environmental educator at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus. Taylor currently is a member at The SCA Massachusetts Americorps doing environmental education and trail work.