Jocelyn Brierley '26

Zoology Research: Giraffe Vocalizations Study
A photo of undergraduate student Jocelyn Brierley in a vehicle.

Jocelyn Brierley is a zoology major from Mansfield Center, Connecticut.

COLSA: Tell us about your research in as non-technical language as possible.

Jocelyn Brierley: The primary focus of our project was to study the vocalizations of giraffes at the Potawatomi Zoo in Indiana when a nearby train passed. We aimed to determine whether the giraffes became anxious or uncomfortable due to the noise from the train tracks located close to their enclosure. To accomplish this, we employed spectrograms—an electronic representation of sound waves—to monitor the timing of the train's passage and assess any connection to the giraffes' vocalizations.

COLSA: What challenge/issue does your research seek to address?

Jocelyn: A significant challenge we encountered during our research was the absence of full vocalizations from the giraffes. We observed snorts and huffs, yet there were no actual calls to one another. Consequently, our project's focus shifted to examining how the giraffes' gatebanging correlated with the passing train. Gatebanging is a behavior some animals display when they are stressed, anxious, or bored.

COLSA: What has your experience conducting undergraduate research been like so far?

Jocelyn: The experience has been exceptionally rewarding. In my freshman year, I was part of Dr. Laura Kloepper's lab, focusing on giraffe vocalizations during the first semester and moose vocalizations in the second. The lab provided not only a wealth of experience and skills but also the opportunity to forge lasting friendships.

In the recent semester, I have worked in Dr. Easton White's Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab, which has been equally enriching. Overall, my journey in undergraduate research has been extraordinary.

COLSA: Are there funding sources and/or collaborators we should acknowledge? If so, please list.

Jocelyn: This project was done in collaboration with Dr. Laura Kloepper.

COLSA: What do you love most about UNH?

Jocelyn: I'm truly passionate about the research opportunities available here. My enthusiasm for research has been unwavering, and since the fall of my freshman year, I have been actively engaging with my passion.

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