Sound and Light Ecology Team

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:

Scientific Presentations

Media Coverage

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.

Lab Manager

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.

Current Members

Ben Buescher

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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.

Carlos Linares, M.S.

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I’m a Mexican biologist with a masters in Ecology. I have had the opportunity to work and study in different ecosystems across Mexico, Canada, and the United States. In Mexico, I worked in the jungles tracking and collecting data on amazing species like Tapirs, Jaguars, and pumas. In Canada, as part of my master project, I worked surveying the wolf population at Aiguebelle National Park. Today, I live in Colorado were I was fortunate to join students and postdoctoral researches analyzing acoustic data as member of the Listening Lab. I work on projects that analyze and identify bird calls from species such as the white-headed woodpecker with the hope of better understanding community structure in response to fires in Sequoia National Park.

Chelsea Chambers

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I am from Kansas City, Missouri and am a junior majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. I did two years at a community college then I joined the world's greatest Navy. Through my travels across the Pacific I got to see some of the most beautiful ecosystems. Keeping these places beautiful for years to come is important to me. I came to CSU to better understand conservation and one day be able to make that difference in the world.

Elena Gratton

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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.

Emily Sikora

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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.

Griselda Landa-Posas

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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.

Haley Stapleton

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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.

Hannah Vincelette

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I am from Marysville, Washington and I am currently majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, with a minor in Ecological Restoration. I decided to attend Colorado State University for its unique College of Natural Resources. I am intrigued by the natural world and passionate about environmental stewardship. I joined the CSU Listening Lab Team to further my knowledge base of acoustic ecology and hopefully contribute to conservation efforts of natural areas across the United States. Outside of studying and working at CSU, I spend my time biking, playing the piano, and growing in my Catholic faith.

James Kelleher

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I am from New Jersey and am a senior majoring in Biological Science and Wildlife Biology. I came to Colorado so that I could study wildlife in a place that still has beautiful natural lands left. My interests lie in the applications of innovative and unique techniques to the conservation of threatened species and places. In my opinion, the National Parks are among the United States' greatest accomplishments and I'm thrilled to be able to participate in work that continues to help preserve them and the life inside them for future generations.

Louisa Markow

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I am a Junior majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology and minoring in Mathematics. I grew up in Loveland, Colorado surrounded by the natural beauty of Northern Colorado and fell in love with The Warner College of Natural Resources after visiting and touring CSU. I started working in the Listening Lab because I am curious about the effects of changing soundscapes and other human disturbances on species distribution and behavior. I ultimately hope to combine my love of both mathematics and conservation to help quantify the effects of human disturbance in order to assist in more informed policy-making. When I am not studying or working at CSU, I enjoy playing guitar, going to concerts, hiking, and reading.

Morgan Crump

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I am a second-year student from Huntsville, Alabama. I am currently majoring in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology as well as double minoring in Environmental Affairs and Applied Environmental Policy Analysis. I have felt a strong attachment with the natural world my whole life and my studies at CSU have only made it grow stronger. Over the past year I have been fortunate enough to learn more about sensory ecology through studying light pollution and am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of acoustic ecology through my work in the Listening Lab. When I am not studying or working at CSU I can often be found bird watching around Fort Collins, reading, or laying in the grass on the Oval.

Terutaka Funabashi

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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.

Past Members

Abbie Hart

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Abbie was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.

Abby Crowder

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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 Avrin

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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.

Alyssa Breda

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Alyssa was a member in the lab from 2017-2018.

Colton Raab

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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 Ryan

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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 Staats

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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.

Grete Wilson-Henjum

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Grete was a member of the lab from 2015-2016.

Henry Joyner

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Henry was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.

Jared Lamb

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Jared was a member of the lab from 2016-2018

Matt Edrich

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Matt was a member of the lab from 2017-2018.

Meredith Lewis

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Meredith was a member of the lab from 2014-2015.

Rachael Tindal

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Rachael was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.

Reina Galvan

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Reina was a member of the lab from 2014-2015.

Sam Bietsch

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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.

Sara Brandenburg

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Sara was a member of the lab from 2014-2016.

Savanna Smith

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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.

Sean Williams

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Sean was a member of the lab from 2013-2016.

Tabitha Gulley

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Tabitha was a member of the lab from 2015-2017.

Taylor Greene

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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 Hawkins

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Trent was a member of the lab from 2016-2017.

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