The Blumstein Lab (circa 2017-2018)

Dan Dan Blumstein is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. Between 2009 and 2016 he was the Chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Dan is broadly interested in the evolution of behavior and conservation biology and the integration of behavior into other disciplines. He co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program.
University web page The Marmot Burrow UCLA Evolutionary Medicine

CV and complete publication list (with pdf reprints)


Madelin Andrade is a Master's student studying avian anti-predator behavior along elevational and latitudinal gradients.




Tiffany Armenta is a PhD student and NSF fellow co-advised by Dan and Bob Wayne. A member of Team Marmot, she's studied gene expression associated with dispersal, sociality, and stressors to determine the immunological impact of stress in wild populations.




Dan Cooper analyzed geographic associations of breeding birds and plants in the eastern Los Angeles Basin for his Master's (UC Riverside), and has returned to complete a PhD studying the success of wildlife, particularly birds, in adapting to urbanization and novel habitats. He is co-advised by Pam Yeh.



Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp (aka Win) is a PhD student supported by a fellowship from the Government of Thailand (Development and Promotion of Science and Technology) with broad interests in biology, including the evolution of behavior and morphology, behavioral ecology, and their applications (e.g., to conservation and ecotourism). He received his MS in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD in 2016. His dissertation work will study the mystery of the semiaquatic mass migration of freshwater shrimp in Thailand and the effects of ecotourism on shrimp migration.




Trey Johnson is a PhD student and member of Team Marmot. Trey is asking whether group selection plays an important role in marmot societies.




Alyssa Morgan is a Master's student and member of Team Marmot. She is studying the effect of human impacts on marmot behavior and population biology.




Gabriela Pinho is a Brazilian Science Without Borders PhD Fellow co-advised by Dan and Bob Wayne and is a member of Team Marmot taking leadership of the marmot genome project and focusing on epigenetics.





Bree Putman is an NSF postdoctoral fellow working with Dan Blumstein and Greg Pauly of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. She is interested in understanding the evolution of antipredator behavior and how fear responses can inform us on how animals might respond to novel human-induced threats such as urbanization. She previously studied the predator-prey relationship between California ground squirrels and rattlesnakes. Her postdoc research will quantify reptile responses to urbanization in Southern California and determine which biological traits associate with different lizard species’ sensitivities (e.g., being urban-tolerant vs. urban-intolerant).



Max Ringler is a Erwin-Schrödinger Postdoctoral Fellow (Austrian Science Fund; FWF). He is investigating the apparent paradox of (missing) amphibian social organization – while some form of social organization occurs in fish, reptiles, birds and mammals, virtually nothing has been described in amphibians so far, although amphibians feature many building blocks of social cognition. His study species is the “non-poisonous poison frog” Allobates femoralis, which he and his wife Eva are following in natural, and semi-natural, controlled populations in French Guiana, as well as in captivity at home in Vienna. His research at UCLA mainly focuses on call characteristics, calling activity and group communication in collaboration with Dan, Peter Narins, and Charles Taylor.



Dana Williams is a Ph.D. student, a member of Team Marmot, and studies social transmission in yellow-bellied marmots.



Lijie Yin is a visiting scholar from Peking University. Lijie is interested in behavioral ecology and conservation biology and has spent the past 15 years studying white-headed leaf monkeys in China. While in the US, she will join Team Marmot and discover the wonders of terrestrial ground squirrels.




When not working, RoboBadger can be found poolside at the Chateau Marmont schmoozing with movie stars.

Popular Press: Science News

email: RoboBadger does not answer email.

Chubs Jr. is a more recent addition to the lab. He used to work with Theo Manno, where he relished scaring squirrels. Now he harasses Two Buck Chuck, a lab mascot.

email: Chubs Jr. does not yet have an email account, but you can email Theo <mannotg at auburn dot edu>

Alumni (including summer RMBL assistants and interns):

Vanessa Alejandro, Allie Anderson, Aimee Artigues, Lisa Barrow, Sarah Batterman, Elen Blesdoe, Malle Carrasco, Kevin Carter, Lawrance Chung, Jessica Chen, Yvonne Chi, Helen Chmura, Leon Chong, Travis Collier, Louise Cooley, Line Cordes, Ondi Crino, Helene Cristofari, Hannah Cross, Esa Crumb, Agata Czerminska, Carrrie De Jesus, Matt De Jong, Alexis Earl, Rina Fernandez, Eleonora Ferando, Guadalupe Flores, Timothee Fouqueray, Holly Fuong, Susie Garity, Sophie Gilbert, Sarah Gilman, Evan Griffith, Jahaziel Guttierez, Alex Hettena, Bill Hintz, Laurie Ikuta, Susan Jojola, Patricia Jones, Seth Kapp, Kristina Kataline, Judith Keenen, Carolyn Kelly, Svenja Kroeger, Amanda Lea, Casey Lee, Olivia LeDee, Chunwang Li, Louise Lochhead, Jorge Lopez, Dave Loyst, Mark Luterra, Soyeon Im, Rachael Mady, Adriana Maldonado-Chaparro, Terry Maul, Doug McClain, Dakota McCoy, Lucas Moyer-Horner, Olivier Munos, Nicole Munoz, Amanda Nicodemus, Gustavo Alacon Nieto, Chiron Otero, Julia Otero, Benison Pang, Elizabeth Palmer, David Pelletier, Kathleen Peshek, Richard Pickins, Findley Ransler, Charlotte Récapet, Andrew Reese, Elizabeth Rhoades, Christian Robstad, Xochitl Ortiz Ross, Jeffrey Roth, Geoffroy Saint Aime, Mona Seymour, Maria Shafer, Erin Shelley, Vivien Shen, Aditya Singh, Tamara Snyder, Jennifer Sojka, Ana Solis, Tricia Stark, Karissa Tang, Elisa Tarlow, Winnie Tran, Adrienne Turner, Ryan Trojan, Emery Valencia, Tyler Van Fleet, Laure Verneyre, Irene Völlmy, Erin Voss, Kelly Walters, Jessica Whittaker, Dana Williams, Jamie Winternitz, Kwasi Wrensford, Wei Jenny Yang, Veronica Yovovich, Xinping Zhang, Claire Zugmeyer.

Eric Abelson was a UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science Postdoc working with Dan and Seth Riley from the National Park Service. His work sits at the intersection of mammalian conservation biology and wildlife behavior. His recent work has examined the interaction between behavior and extinction risk as well as behavioral impacts of monitoring on capture rates. His postdoctoral research focused on wildlife behavior at roadsides with an eye toward reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.

He is now a researcher at the United States Forest Service.




Oded Berger-Tal was a Rothschild and Fulbright postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. His main interest is the integration of behavioral ecology into conservation and management. In his doctoral research he investigated the behavioral response of animals (in particular, animals that have been reintroduced to nature) to novel environments. For his postdoctoral research he investigated ways to encourage natural foraging behaviors in reintroduced California condors.

He is now a faculty member at the Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.




Janice Daniel was a senior research associate who managed the marmot database, worked on team marmot, helped develop JWatcher, and co-authored the JWatcher book. She now is the program manager the UCLA Cal-Teach Program.



Lilah Hubbard was a UCLA graduate who was a research assistant and collaborator on Team Marmot.



Alex Kirschel received his Ph.D. in 2008. He was co-advised by Charles Taylor. His dissertation focused on causes and consequences of environmental acoustics on birdsong. He also worked on a project developing acoustic sensor arrays to census avian biodiversity and study behavioral interactions remotely.

He's currently on the faculty at the University of Cyprus.

email: kirschel[at]


Amanda Lea was an award-winning honors student and then became a research assistant and collaborator on Team Marmot. She has studied the quantitative genetics of various marmot traits along with questions about both communication networks and the development of antipredator behavior.

She was an NSF Graduate Fellow who worked with Susan Alberts and Jenny Tung at Duke for her PhD and now is a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton.




Adriana Maldonado-Chaparro received her Ph.D. in 2015. She was a Fullbright Doctoral Fellow from Colombia. Her Masters work focused on capybara population biology and behavior, and her dissertation she studied the consequences of phenotypic plasticity for marmot population dynamics. Side projects explored the consequences of marmot social relationships.

She now is a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology at Konstanz, Germany.




Julien Martin was a FQRNT Postdoctoral Fellow from Quebec who went onto a Marie Curie Fellowship and then Lectureship at the University of Aberdeen. As a doctoral student he's collaborated with us on studies of heritability of a variety of traits (in addition to doing is own dissertation work on reproductive strategies of ungulates). For his postdoctoral research he studied evolutionary dynamics and selection in marmots.

He is now a faculty member at the University of Aberdeen.


Julien photo


Raquel Monclús was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow from Spain. Her doctoral thesis dealt with behavioral and physiological responses of European rabbits to predators. She studied the fitness consequences of antipredator behavior, and a number of questions about maternal effects in yellow-bellied marmots.

She is now a Marie Currie Fellow at the University of Paris-Sud.




Nicole Munoz received her Ph.D. in 2015. She was an NSF Fellow who studied the conditions under which animals should integrate stimuli from different modalities. She evaluated key predictions of her model by studying yellow-bellied marmot risk assessment.

She now lives in Boulder, Colorado.




Lucretia Olson received her Ph.D. in 2009 studying the evolution and maintenance of male coalitionary behavior and male marmot reproductive strategies.

She is a researcher at the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missolua, Montana.



Megan Owen received her PhD in 2014. Her dissertation focused on giant panda behavior.

She is the Associate Director of Applied Animal Ecology at the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research.




Matt Petelle received his PhD in 2014. His dissertation focused on explaining personality variation in marmots.

He is currently a postdoc studying bat eared foxes in South Africa.




Kim Pollard received her Ph.D. in 2009 studying causes and consequences of sociality. Empirical work focused on the evolution of individually specific alarm calls in sciurid rodents.

She is a researcher at the US Army Research Laboratory in Los Angele studying human perception and robotics.



Zachary Schakner was an NSF Fellow and received his Ph.D. in 2016 studying wildlife-human conflict. Empirical work focused on California Sea Lions and he evaluated fear conditioning techniques to reduce negative interactions with the sport-fishing industry.

He now works for NOAA Fisheries.




Brian Smith received his Ph.D. in 2008 studying the fitness consequences of individuality in animals. Empirical work focused on behavioral syndromes in guppies.

He now lives in the Baltimore area where he works for the state goverment.



Jennifer Smith was a Center for Society and Genetics Postdoctoral Fellow at UCLA and is now an Assistant Professor at Mills College. Her marmot work studies the influences of maternal effects on the condition, behavior and fitness of marmots.

She is now a faculty member at Mills College.




Ana Solis is a UCLA graduate who was a research assistant and collaborator on Team Marmot.



Tina Wey received her Ph.D. in 2011. A member of Team Marmot, she pioneered the use of social network statistics to study marmot sociality.

She is now a postdoc at the University of Quebec in Montreal.



And, if you become a mamoteer, look what you have to look forward to. Here's Veronica in a (ahem) more recent job studying wolves and what they eat...yes, she's in the elk! Following this episode, she received a Ph.D. at the University of California Santa Cruz studing mountain lions.


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Updated: 29 May 17