The Whale Song Project (WhaleFM)
is studying calls and songs of killer
whales with researchers from the University of St. Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU
) in Scotland and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI
) in Massachusetts, Scientific American announced online in an article
Through the WhaleFM
website, citizen scientists can help by listening to a whale call represented by a spectrogram
showing pitch changes and associated with the location where it was recorded on a world ocean and sea map, then listen to a series of potentially matching calls drawn from the project's database and click on any matching sound's spectrogram so the results will be stored.
WHOI and SMRU researchers studying whale dialects collected the sounds over several years through microphones attached to pilot and killer whales. But the volume of data (including extraneous background noises) has grown so huge a worldwide team of scientists will be needed to sort it out.
Some experiments recorded whales' behavioral responses to sonar sounds, and others aimed to learn more about the size and significance of whale song repertoires, Scientific American reported.
Anyone interested in helping can begin by signing up at Whale.fm
To learn about and participate in other citizen science
projects, visit Zooniverse