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 from Saint Louis, Missouri and have worked with the Saint Louis Zoo’s education department for 5 years teaching people about animal behavior, conservation, and environmental health. At CSU, I am pursuing a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with minors in Zoology and Global Environmental Sustainability. My interest in studying how humans affect wildlife populations and how to mitigate any detrimental effects we have on animals and the environment led me to join the team at the Listening Lab where I hope to do productive and beneficial research on sound ecology in national parks around the country. In the future, I want to lead conservation and environmental outreach programs on a global scale.
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 am from Portland, Oregon, and took a year off between high school and college to teach English and work with local scientists in Thailand. I am currently majoring in Biology with a Spanish minor, and plan on adding a minor in Conservation Biology. My appreciation for conservation grew as I worked in various fields of environmentalism and education, especially while working at the Oregon Zoo. Attending CSU and working in the Listening Lab allows me continue work like this, while gaining exposure to noise pullution and its impact on natural areas. Since coming to CSU and Colorado, I have an even greater love for our country's national parks and natural areas, especially Rocky Mountain National Park, and I am glad I get to participate in research that helps preserve places like this.
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 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 am an international student from Japan currently majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. My interest in this field grew as my family and I visited national parks in the United States. I chose to attend CSU instead of a university in Japan because I wanted to gain more experience working on conservation issues in the United States. While interning at the national park in Japan, I was exposed to noise pollution issues arrising from the park's efforts to scare off brown bears in order to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. This exposure grew my interest between noise and conservation practices and I hope to use my time in the Listening Lab to further my conservation training.
Abbie was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.
Abby was a member of the lab from 2015-2017. Post graduation, Abby is working as an Aquarist at the Downtown Denver Aquarium, as well as a tour guide at Cave of the Winds. In the future, Abby hopes to travel abroad, while eventually pursuing a career in marine conservation.
Alex was a member in the lab from 2013-2015. Post-graduation, Alex 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 was a member of the lab from 2013-2015. Colton graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. Colton is currently working in the larval fish lab at CSU, conducting non-native species removal in the Yampa River in Colorado.
Corinne was a member of the lab from 2016-2017. Post-graduation, Corinne started work as a Wildlife Technician for the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, conducting occupancy surveys for Mexican Spotted Owls on National Forest land. In the future, she hopes to get experience participating in additional wildlife research, as well as volunteering at animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers. Corinne hopes to remain as actively involved in the outdoors as much as possible, in order to further appreciate the wonderful sounds of nature.
Gabby was a member of the lab from 2015-2016. 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.
Rachael was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.
Reina was a member of the lab from 2014-2015.
Sam was a member of the lab from 2013-2016. 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.
Savanna was a member of the lab from 2016-2017. Post-graduation, Savanna will be completing an internship with the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho. She hopes to take some time off to travel and eventually head back to graduate school.
Taylor was a member of the lab from 2014-2015. Taylor has since worked as a counselor at Keystone Science School in Keystone, CO before transitioning to an 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.
Trent was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.