This is a very cool project!
The people at St Andrews in Scotland, they have tagged 25 pilot and killer whales in various locations and recorded their calls. They are now asking volunteers to match up the vocalisations, to help them better understand their communication. 'Citizen Scientists' from around the world are being asked to listen to and classify the various calls.
The increasing size of current acoustic datasets and the large call repertoire make it very difficult for scientists to address these questions. A single person would take months to go through the data, and the outcome would still depend on a single persons’ interpretation.
For this reason we want to ask you to help us solve this problem, by categorizing the calls of killer whales pilot whales that you find on this website. The dataset generated by this project will allow us to address interesting questions, such as:
- How well do different judgements of volunteers agree, and how well can we categorize calls of vocal species such as pilot whales?
- How large is the call repertoire of pilot whales? (is size repertoire sign of intelligence?)
- Do the long and short finned pilot whales have different call repertoires (or ‘dialects’?).
- Does this repertoire change during sonar transmissions? if so, how does this related to changes in behavior of the individuals and the group as a whole?
Go to http://whale.fm/ to take part!
Write up from the BBC as well: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-15929295
Right I'm off to match up a few more calls before lunch! (hope my boss isn't reading this!)