Ellen Bledsoe ‘13

Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, Crested Butte, CO
: Biology, Minor: English

Last summer, I worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) in Gothic, CO. I worked with Dr. Dan Blumstein. Although Dan worked mostly with marmots at RMBL, I am worked with him on a project with white-crowned sparrows to determine what he liked to refer to as "the sound of fear." I would play both linear and nonlinear (distorted and unpredictable) sounds to birds in the field and record their responses. Although I didn't find any significant results, there are some trends that support our hypothesis that animals respond more evocatively to nonlinear sounds due to their unpredictability. Being at RMBL wasn't all work, though; I managed to hike up a few incredibly beautiful mountains, meet some really wonderful scientists and see animals I've rarely, if ever, seen before!