Global Aquatic Sound Library

The first-ever international audio collection of aquatic ecosystems aims to uncover unidentified fish species, discover regional dialects and help conservation.


Dolphins swimming in the ocean

To better understand the diversity, distribution and abundance of species in noisy underwater ecosystems, a group of 17 international scientists, are calling for a global audio collection of Earth's submerged orchestras.


The collection, dubbed The Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds (GLUBS), will catalog everything from the humming of boats, to a blue whale's haunting clicks and whistles, to the sounds of ice and wind. Such a reference library could help researchers collaborate, compare and monitor marine, brackish and freshwater ecosystems and possibly identify new species.


Roughly 250,000 marine species are known, and lots of them have been heard making noise. Scientists suspect all 126 marine mammals emit sound. According to a statement, at least 100 invertebrates and 1,000 of the world's known 34,000 fish species also make noise, and experts think more fish are waiting to be heard.


Whilst various research institutions already have their own sound libraries, the scientists argue that a global platform that brings together existing libraries would give accessibility to more data and allow for more collaboration.


The open-access collection may help researchers identify biologically rich areas to protect and how species in one location differ from the same species residing in another area. Furthermore, as the register of underwater sounds grow, researchers will more likely understand what sounds aid in the restoration efforts of a specific ecosystem.

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