Recently, the power of crowds has been harnessed to solve a huge array of problems—everything from identifying distant galaxies to developing climate change solutions, cleaning up after natural disasters to well, actually generating power. Participants in these studies—often called "citizen scientists"—use apps designed for their phones and websites to apply their enthusiasm and free time to helping out larger researcher projects. And now, citizen scientists are tuning their ears to the sound of the sea.
Launched by Zooniverse and Scientific American, this latest project's goal is to identify and match whale songs. Ultimately, scientists hope that this database could help identify patterns in whale calls and even lead to an understanding of what some of the sounds mean.
The sounds have been collected by researchers over the course of several years. To accomplish this, microphones are temporarily attached to orca and pilot whales. It works well—almost too well. After years of collection, the sheer volume of data has become overwhelming. Hence, the need for assistance from interested citizens.
Those interested in participating in the research can head over to Whale.fm and start surfing the sound waves right away.