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.
Carlos Linares, M.S.