Friday, 16 December 2011

Do whales have dialects?

Scientists at the University of St Andrews are asking the public to help them solve the mystery of the way whales communicate.
Researchers from the University’s Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) want curious 'citizen scientists' across the world to get involved in listening to and helping classify the calls of killer whales and the lesser known pilot whales. 'Citizen scientists' are being urged to listen to and help classify sounds made by the mammals and it aims to establish whether calls vary between different groups of whales. Interested individuals who log on are presented with a whale call and shown where it was recorded on a map of the world's oceans and seas. After listening to the whale call, members of the public are then asked to listen to a number of potential matching calls from the project's database.

If a match is found the results are stored.
Download: Whale sound extract from SMRU - Whale transients (MP3, 831 KB)
Flash Player is required for the embedded audio player.
The study is part of the Whale Project: a global effort to categorise whale calls, co-sponsored by the science magazine Scientific American.