Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds
A team of 17 experts from nine countries has set the goal of gathering huge collections of aquatic life’s tell-tale sounds on a single platform and expanding it using new enabling technologies, such as hydrophones, AI, phone apps and underwater GoPros used by citizen scientists.
Of the roughly 250,000 known marine species, scientists think all 126 mammals emit sounds. Also audible are at least 100 invertebrates; 1,000 of the world’s 34,000 known fish species; and likely many thousands more.
The Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds, or “GLUBS,” will underpin a novel, noninvasive, affordable way for scientists to listen in on life in marine, brackish and freshwater; monitor changing diversity, distribution and abundance; and identify new species.
As just one example, you can listen to the “boing” of a dwarf minke whale from western Australia (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), from Marine Mammals of Australia and Antarctica.
Using the acoustic properties of underwater soundscapes can also characterize an ecosystem’s type and condition.
The team behind the library has written “Sounding the Call for a Global Library of Biological Underwater Sounds” in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
If you’d like to contribute to the library as a citizen scientist, you can upload, for example, the River Listening app (www.riverlistening.com), which encourages the public to listen to and record fish sounds in rivers and coastal waters.