A group of international scientists is developing the project of setting up a global audio collection of the underwater world in the hopes of identifying new species, plus comparing and monitoring ecosystems and even repopulating specific ones.
The Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds will sample not only the marine species, but also the humming of boats, as well as wind and ice. Out of the 250,000 marine species, all 126 marine mammals are suspected to make sounds, at least 100 invertebrates, and 1,000 fish species – out of the 34,000 known – also make noise, and possibly thousands more.
The collection is important since the planet’s biodiversity is in decline due to human activity. To record the sounds of the underwater world, researchers use hydrophones, but they also suggest adding GoPros, artificial intelligence learning systems, as well as phone apps to collect and analyze data. Within the web-based sound library, users will listen to known and unknown sounds, and access distribution maps identifying where the sounds come from. Passive noises will be made available, including when animals eat, swim, or crawl. Sound aid could also repopulate degraded areas. For example, when researchers played recordings of a thriving coral reef in a coral-bleached area, fish were drawn to it, setting roots near the speakers.