Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can You Speak Whale?

Dory speaks several dialects including a little humpback and maybe some orca...

Orcas and pilot whales actually do have dialects (different groups of whales are known to use different songs and sounds) and scientists studying these whales are looking for some citizen scientist crowd sourcing help in their research.

Through the Whale FM project you can help sort through thousands of recorded whale songs and the corresponding spectrograms looking for similar recordings that can be grouped into a matching category to help scientists work to decipher the calls.

Scientific American has partnered with researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the University of St. Andrews to put together the website and they've done a wonderful job of making the project straight forward and accessible. You should give it a try if you have a few minutes or just check out the site if you want to learn more about the project.

Weekend Edition had a nice story on the Whale FM project recently and you can learn more about citizen science and other on going projects via Scientific American.

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