Citizen Scientists Needed to Analyze Whale Calls

Average citizens can now advance marine science from the comfort of their offices, living rooms, favorite coffee shops, or even on the go via their smartphones on the new website The University of St Andrews in Scotland and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts have put together this site and general call for help categorizing the calls of Pilot Whales and Killer Whales from around the world.

The Whale Project is an interactive website where anyone can help match recordings of whale songs with those of others speaking the same whale dialect. The project is part of efforts to study whale behavior and the effect of human activities on whale populations.  The results could inform regulatory processes for use of underwater sonar and ocean shipping lanes.

If love of whales isn’t enough to get you to take part, perhaps you will be compelled by the Wired Science take on the site:

“What we particularly like about is how soothing the whole process is. If you’re having a tough day at work, put your headphones on and take five minutes to match a few whale noises. We guarantee you’ll feel better.”

Have you contributed to What did you think? Report back in the comments field below.


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Orca Photo by flickr user *christopher*


Robert Miles
Robert Miles5 years ago

Note that this project LISTENS to the whales, without restricting their freedom or doing anything that might harm them.

It appears to be the start of an effort to translate what whales say into human languages. Don't you agree that they would be better protected if we could translate their requests for protection into the language of whoever they need to be protected from?

Robert Miles
Robert Miles5 years ago

I've tried the project. It does not appear to be fully compatible with any of the several browsers I use, so I wouldn't call it ready for citizen scientists to do much with it. I've already sent them several problem reports about those incompatibilities, and plan to give them some time for improvements before I try again.

helga g.
Helga Guillen5 years ago

please live the whales alone, they deserve to live in peace.Stop this proyect don't use underwater sonar and ocean shipping lane in their habitat that is against nature, in instead use the money to protect them for been killing, make a law that whales can not be in captivity make them happy, underwater sonar and ocean shipping lane in the sea will affect them is not natural, please stop that proyect, study them but without disturbing their habitat. leave them in peace.

Carrie Anne Brown

great idea :) thanks for sharing :)

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


Alison Conley
Alison Conley6 years ago

Sounds pretty cool.

Zee Kallah
Past Member 6 years ago

Good idea!

Claudette Colbert

Why can't scientists leave nature alone. God's creatures do not need analyzing.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

William K.
William K6 years ago

Oh, this is too cool. I am going to give it a try. Thanks for letting us all know!