January 25, 2022

Reference: Historic Marine Mammal Sound Archive Now Available Online, Thousands of Sound Clips Available

From the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute:

Over his more than 40 years as a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), William Watkins led the effort to collect and catalog the vocalizations made by marine mammals. In the last decade of his career, he strove to digitize as many of his recordings as possible, with the goal of making them publicly available.


Screenshot of William Watkins Marine Mammal Sound Database Homepage

Watkins passed away in 2004, but his ambition for his collection has finally been realized. With support from the WHOI Marine Mammal Center, a team from WHOI has launched the online, open access William Watkins Marine Mammal Sound Database.

Bill Watkins helped pioneer the field of marine mammal bioacoustics, developing the first tape recorder that could withstand being taken out to sea. During his long career at WHOI, Watkins made thousands of hours of underwater recordings of whales, dolphins, and other marine animals.


In all, the audio archive includes sounds of more than 60 species recorded over seven decades by Schevill, Watkins, and other scientists, among them G. Carleton Ray, Douglas Wartzok, Melba and David Caldwell,Kenneth Norris, and Thomas Poulter.


The William Watkins Marine Mammal Sound Database includes approximately 1,800 complete master tapes, along with more than 10,000 extracted digital sound clips. The metadata files list the common and scientific name of the species heard on each recording, as well as the date and geographic location where the animals were recorded, and other information noted by the researchers.

Read the Complete Announcement, Learn More About the Resource

Direct to William Watkins Marine Mammal Sound Database

See Also: Sounds of Nature: Montana State University and Yellowstone National Park Launch Curated Audio Collection Online

See Also:  From Cornell U. “World’s Largest Natural Sound Archive Now Fully Digital and Online” (January 15, 2013)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.