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Killer Whale Tracker

Main Project Information
Presented By Salish Sea Hydrophone Network
Goal Monitor endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales.
Task Detect orca sounds and measure noise levels using hydrophones.
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

The Salish Sea Hydrophone Network needs volunteers to help monitor the critical habitat of endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales by detecting orca sounds and measuring ambient noise levels. Volunteers are especially needed to help notify researchers when orcas are in the Salish Sea, which encompasses the waters of Puget Sound and the surrounding area.

Sponsored by a coalition of organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Beam Reach Marine Science, the network consists of five hydrophones, each hooked up to a computer to analyze the signal and stream it via the internet.

Even though software is used to distinguish animal from other underwater sound, human ears do a better job of detecting unusual sounds. So volunteers monitor the network from their home computers anywhere in the world, and alert the rest of the network when they hear whale sounds. Sometimes boats or onshore monitors are deployed to study the whales in other ways. Researchers hope to learn more about the uses of orca communications and whale migration patterns.

How to Join Click the "Request to join" button on this page to instantly notify the project leader of your interest!

Visit to find out how to listen live, access recordings, learn what to listen for, and how to log in your observations.

Links related to project description:

Project Timing Year-round, 24/7!
Special Skills Be a good listener! (Or if you don't hear well, be observant when looking at spectrograms, or other visual displays of sounds.)
Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Other
Average Time Less than an hour
Spend the Time indoors
Type of Activity Exclusively online, At school, At night, At home
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags killer whale, ocean, orca, whale
Project Updated 04/21/2017