California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Northern CA PPSR Projects 1

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

Whale FM - the Whale Song Project

Organization Website
Zooniverse, WHOI, TNO, University of Oxford, SMRU
Contact Name
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Other Contact Information

If have a question about the science behind Whale FM, you can email Whale FM science team member Sander von Benda-Beckmann,

Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

Learn more about why and when whales make specific calls in order to properly understand the implications of these responses, we need to know 

The dataset generated by this project will allow us to address interesting questions, such as:

  • How well do different judgements of volunteers agree, and how well can we categorize calls of vocal species such as pilot whales?
  • How large is the call repertoire of pilot whales? (is size repertoire sign of intelligence?)
  • Do the long and short finned pilot whales have different call repertoires (or ‘dialects’?)
Participant Activities

Volunteers categorize the calls of killer whales and pilot whales that they find on the Whale FM website

The site displays calls from both Orcas and Pilot Whales. Volunteers are presented with a call and shown where it was recorded on the map. The call is represented as a spectrogram, which shows the shape of the sound. Volunteers can click on the spectrogram to hear the call itself. 

You'll see a selection of smaller spectrograms, which you can also click to hear. When you find a sound that is a possible match, click on the check mark and it will be enlarged and displayed next two the main sound on the map. Now you can check that they are alike, and either select another or click 'MATCH' to confirm your choice.

Data Entry
  • Website
Other Participant Activities

Volunteers can talk to other users, or explore an interesting sound, on the Whale Talk site.

System Studied
  • Mammals
Geographic Scope
All (see 'geographic scope')
Your home
Location - Map
Time Commitment
  • Other (see Other Information below)
Volunteer Qualifications

Volunteers must have access to a personal computer with a supported web browser and speakers or headphones

Volunteer Training

The website provides guidance on project significance and how to identify sounds.

Cost to Participant
How will the findings be used?
Other Information
last update:

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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