Research in Residence

Rada Petric

For over 50 years the Highlands Biological Foundation has provided grants in support of scientific research, bringing graduate students and research scientists to Highlands from all over the world.  

Vetted by our Board of Scientific Advisors, these grants make it possible for researchers to conduct their research in residence at the Highlands Biological Station, fostering an active research corps each summer that benefits all Station users.  Our Grant-in-Aid program is a model of success, yielding hundreds of graduate theses and thousands of scientific papers over the years.

This year’s Science in Society Fellow, Rada Petric, investigated how manmade (Anthropogenic) noise influences individual behaviors of native rodents.  Vocal communication is an essential component of animal behavior, yet we know relatively little about the impact of broadband noise pollution on vocal signals of free-living and nocturnal animals.

Petric studied free-living, nocturnal, and vocal rodents, the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) and woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis), this summer by trapping live mice, putting radio-transmitters on individuals, recording their vocalizations, and measuring their activity.  During the night when mice are most-active, Rada experimentally broadcasted noise or familiar sound in the territory of individual mice.  In order to record deer mouse vocalizations, monitor movements, and activity, she deployed three remote sensing systems; microphone array, radiotelemetry, and thermal imaging video.

Rodents provide important ecosystem services by directly and indirectly influencing the abundance and distribution of other species, from plants to carnivores.  The results from this study can be incorporated into policy decision making to quantify allowable limits for sounds in natural areas.

For more information regarding the research conducted at HBS, visit