Open-source code to accelerate orca conservation & bioacoustic research

Orcasound is an open source project that makes it easy to listen live for animals that make sounds, like the endangered orcas in Washington State (aka Southern Resident Killer Whales, or SRKWs). We use underwater microphones (hydrophones) deployed in key habitats to listen for the calls, whistles, and clicks that SRKWs make almost continuously -- intense signals that can be heard 10 km away, often before the orcas are visible.

Since a Kickstarter in mid-2017, key members of our community have built a web app that is connected to 3 hydrophones monitoring the SRKW habitat 24/7. Version 2 of the app, live since May, 2020, lets citizen scientists indicate when they detect orca sounds in the live audio data streams, or other sounds that might harm the orcas, like sonar or noise from ships. The web-app code repository has multiple feature branches. Users of version 2 can also receive a notification when orcas are detected, a feature which makes Orcasound a new conservation tool. We expect version 3, designed for both mobile and desktop for the first time, to begin beta-testing in mid-2021. While users enjoy the live “concert” they are offered a timely call to action -- often aimed at reducing the underwater noise pollution near Seattle which impedes the orcas’ ability to communicate & echolocate scarce salmon.

Orcasound also maintains repositories with other open source tools that support the web app, as well as bioacoustic analysis in general, and killer whale recovery. You can examine and contribute to all our code at

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  • python
  • javascript
  • react
  • elixir
  • raspberry pi


  • Science and Medicine
  • audio analysis
  • machine learning
  • real-time
  • scientific visualization
  • citizen science
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Orcasound 2021 Projects

  • isabella Macchivello
    Changing the frontend of OrcaSound
    OrcaSounds main objective is to educate and protect the orcas in the pacific. But in order to do that the website specifically the frontend needs to...
  • Dmitry Volodin
    Github Actions Workflows for Scheduled Algorithm Deployment
    Purpose of this project is to create a suite of GitHub Actions workflows for scheduled algorithm deployment on datastreams from Ocean Observatories...
  • Dhananjay Purohit
    Improve site architecture and add features to the Orcamap
    This project aims to focus on some of the primary goals the repo orcamap-react needs to support the visualization of hydrophones, orca calls, ships,...
  • Jose Giraldo
    Sounds similar for me: Using open embeddings to improve sampling on orcAL Tool
    This project aims to improve the current active sampling strategy by implementing other information measures such as information density and...