Sounding the Call for a Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds

Ilse.van.Opzeeland [ at ]


Aquatic environments encompass the world’s most extensive habitats, rich with sounds produced by a diversity of animals. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is an increasingly accessible remote sensing technology that uses hydrophones to listen to the underwater world and represents an unprecedented, non-invasive method to monitor underwater environments. This information can assist in the delineation of biologically important areas via detection of sound-producing species or characterization of ecosystem type and condition, inferred from the acoustic properties of the local soundscape. At a time when worldwide biodiversity is in significant decline and underwater soundscapes are being altered as a result of anthropogenic impacts, there is a need to document, quantify, and understand biotic sound sources–potentially before they disappear. A significant step toward these goals is the development of a web-based, open-access platform that provides: (1) a reference library of known and unknown biological sound sources (by integrating and expanding existing libraries around the world); (2) a data repository portal for annotated and unannotated audio recordings of single sources and of soundscapes; (3) a training platform for artificial intelligence algorithms for signal detection and classification; and (4) a citizen science-based application for public users. Although individually, these resources are often met on regional and taxa-specific scales, many are not sustained and, collectively, an enduring global database with an integrated platform has not been realized. We discuss the benefits such a program can provide, previous calls for global data-sharing and reference libraries, and the challenges that need to be overcome to bring together bio- and ecoacousticians, bioinformaticians, propagation experts, web engineers, and signal processing specialists (e.g., artificial intelligence) with the necessary support and funding to build a sustainable and scalable platform that could address the needs of all contributors and stakeholders into the future.

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Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
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DOI 10.3389/fevo.2022.810156

Cite as
Parsons, M. , Lin, T. H. , Mooney, A. , Erbe, C. , Juanes, F. , Lammers, M. , Li, S. , Linke, S. , Looby, A. , Nedelec, S. , Van Opzeeland, I. , Radford, C. A. , Rice, A. , Sayigh, L. , Stanley, J. , Urban, E. and Di Iorio, L. (2022): Sounding the Call for a Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds , Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10 (810156) . doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.810156

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