The Big Question

What is the meaning of marine mammal vocalizations?

Do dolphins have “language?” What is the meaning of a humpback’s song? What information does a manatee call convey? Marine mammal acoustic communication is extremely diverse, complex, and many species have neural wiring supporting a potentially sophisticated communication system. Yet in the absence of “Rosetta Stone,” our efforts to decode it have been challenging. Our approach to decoding marine mammal communication is to use large datasets, both audio and video, to analyze behaviors and calls produced by marine mammals in search for individual variation,
call categories, and sequential information.This data will be eventually used to conduct the playback experiment to establish the potential function or “meaning” of the call.Understanding form and function of marine mammal communication goes well beyond the quest of whether or not dolphins have “language,” as it has practical conservation benefits: tracking individuals via passive acoustics, warning boaters about the presence of manatees or whales, and using acoustics to evaluate a marine mammal’s health, activities and crucial habitats.


Our Approach

A Combination of Citizen Science and Deep Learning


Citizen Science Projects on Zooniverse

We involve citizen scientists in open projects posted on Zooniverse portal. We also offer additional training for those who want to learn more, online courses on a variety of marine mammal topics, and quizzes.

Deep Learning

Citizen science data analysis helps to train our deep learning models for marine mammals’ acoustic signal identification, classification and finding the potential function.


In order to find the potential function of marine mammal signals. we will be designing and implementing playback experiments.

Our Research

Learn more about our conference presentations and peer-reviewed scientific publications.

Manatee Chat

This project will investigate the form and function of manatee vocalizations, which will allow us to learn more about what signals manatees produce, what potential function they might serve, and what differences individual manatee calls have.

Dolphin Chat- Coming Soon!

This long-term project will investigate a variety of acoustic signals produced by the bottlenose dolphins, both coastal and offshore populations. The sounds we will focus on will include burst pulses, whistles, low-frequency narrowband signals, and others signals.

Whale Chat - Coming Soon!

We will be analyzing the content of humpback song, as well as non-song social vocalizations. We will be searching for semantic information, individual variations, and potential function of humpback whales vocalizations.

Become a Member

Learn and Contribute to Research!

Get Access to Marine Mammals Classes

Members have unlimited access to online classes on a variety of marine mammal topics from marine mammal communication to cognition, brain, navigation and more.

Learn to Collect and Analyze Real Acoustic and Behavior Data

Members will get additional training for more advanced workflows in our citizen science projects on Zooniverse which include more sophisticated acoustic analysis component (i.e. classification, evaluation of calls).

Early Research Updates and News

Members will have access to preliminary findings and new research updates summarized in easy to read, tl;dr way. Members will be first to know the results of data analysis.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates about marine mammal cognition and communication research!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates about marine mammal cognition and communication research!

You have Successfully Subscribed!