Virtual research opportunities

While Beam Reach doesn’t offer paid internships and cannot host volunteers in person, we encourage your remote participation in acoustic monitoring and research. There are way too many data for our staff and students to process. And there are many questions that go unanswered or even unasked!

The following projects are ones that you can undertake as an “externship” — your own research efforts, at no cost, with minimal supervision and training. If you have questions or suggestions, contact us at extern@beamreach.org with the understanding that response time may be long, particularly during Beam Reach programs.

Monitor live underwater sound in killer whale critical habitat

This goal of this project is to build a team of humans who are trained and organized to monitor the live audio streams from the Salish Sea Hydrophone Network.

  1. Visit the web site of the Salish Sea hydrophone network and listen to the underwater sounds.
  2. Use the Salish Sea sound tutor to become familiar with sounds commonly heard on the hydrophones.
  3. Monitor the live audio streams for killer whale sounds, other biological sounds, mystery sounds, and human noise sources like ships, boats, pile driving, and sonar.
  4. Use web cams and other live sensors to try to figure out what is making the sounds you hear.
  5. Send an email to detection *at* orcasound.net if you hear something interesting.
  6. Log your observations and coordinate listening sessions with the hydrophone observation Google spreadsheet
  7. Download a free audio stream ripping program (like StreamRipper) and try recording the audio stream
  8. Analyze and edit your recording using free software like Audacity
  9. Learn about spectrograms and generate your own using Audacity.
  10. Use the screen grab feature of your computer or another program to grab a snapshot of your spectrogram
  11. Request an account on the Orcasphere blog and post an entry with a narrative of your observations, screen-grabs, and/or audio files.
  12. Use your recordings (or archived ones) to push the boundaries of what is known about killer whale sounds and marine noise pollution! (See next project…)

Analyze archived recordings

Though it is critical to record the southern residents as much as possible through non-invasive means (while they are still around!), it is also important to get as much value as possible from the super-abundance of data that has already been acquired.

  1. Contribute to or build upon Beam Reach research efforts
  2. Study what has already been done
    • Beam Reach student projects
    • SRKW theses
    • The literature: Search Google Scholar for names like John Ford, Andy Foote, Rich Osborne, Marla Holt, Patrick Miller, David Bain, Monika Wieland, Rachael Griffin, etc.
  3. Beam Reach recordings (access upon request; metadata coming soon)
  4. Salish Sea hydrophone network recordings

Other places that sometimes offer jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities related to killer whale research or education