Learning

Interested in learning more about sound and soundscape ecology? Check out these resources from Purdue University and others.

(record the earth iPhone app)

Join the Mission: Record the Earth Where You Live

Scientists need your help! Join citizen scientists from around the world who are recording soundscapes to help scientists study earth’s diverse sounds and what they tell us about the health of the world we live in. Use the free Record the Earth app to record your own soundscapes and share them with the world.

Available on the iPhone App StoreAndroid App On Google Play
(scientist recording in the field)

Why Record Soundscapes?

Soundscape ecology is a growing field of research that uses sound to track how ecosystems change over time. At the Center for Global Soundscapes at Purdue, Bryan Pijanowski and his team of researchers are collecting hours of sound at locations like the Alaskan tundra and a rainforest in Borneo. By analyzing the recordings, they can reveal changes in each ecosystem that we might not otherwise be able to see. Want to learn more? Visit the Center for Global Soundscapes to learn more.

(map of recordings)

Listen to Sample Soundscapes

Over 2,400 participants, more than 4,500 soundscapes... and the number keeps growing. Visit Record the Earth to hear recordings collected from around the world. Map out the places where there are soundscapes that make people happy.

(Penguin Party!)

Hear Scientists’ “Favorite” Recordings

Purdue scientists have found some amazing sounds in their research files including “My Car Won’t Start,” “Howler Monkey, God of Thunder,” and “Penguin Party.” Listen, like, and share them with others!

(iListen Portal)

iListen.org

Calling all future soundscapers! Visit the iListen Portal and meet real soundscape ecologists, listen to soundscape recordings, and learn the tools and skills you need to participate in 3 iListen research missions. Designed for grades 5–8; fun for all ages.

(Your Ecosystem Listening Labs - YELLs)
view YELL guide

Your Ecosystem Listening Labs (YELL)
Instructor’s Guide

Explore the science of soundscape ecology with inquiry-based lessons for grades 5–8. Designed for classrooms and informal learning settings, activities explore the physics of sound, animal communication, and sound observation and analysis skills. Aligns with Next Generation Science Standards.

Sample activities from YELL guide

Sound Walk

Take a sound walk and learn how to identify sounds in your surrounding soundscapes. (45 minutes, outdoors, small group)

Sound Bingo

Listen to recordings and identify different sounds; then categorize sounds by their source – biophony, geophony, and anthrophony. (45 minutes, indoors, large group)

Sound Visualization

Learn how sound can be visualized through oscillograms and spectrograms using free sound editing and visualization software. (60‑90 minutes, indoors, small group)

Additional Resources

  • NOVA: Soundscape Ecology
    This brief video from NOVA explains soundscape ecology through an interview with soundscape ecologist Dr. Bryan Pijanowski. (3:26 min.)
  • Science360 Radio: Soundscape Ecology
    Soundscape Ecology pioneer Bryan Pijanowski describes how he pursues his passion and how you can help record the Earth. (14:11 min.)
  • CNN: Listening for the Amphibian Apocalypse
    Soundscape ecologist Bryan Pijanowski and his team set up microphones to listen for the sounds of extinction. (5:40 min.)
  • Scientists are recording the sound of the whole planet
    Researchers are listening to everything from airplanes to bat calls in order to learn more about the state of the environment
  • NPR: Listening To Wild Soundscapes
    Ecologist Bryan Pijanowski and bioacoustician Bernie Krause discuss what we can learn from listening to natural soundscapes. (22:57 min.)
  • BBC Radio: Acoustic Ecology
    Peter Gibbs asks whether sound could become a vital tool in conservation, helping us understand far more about how wildlife interacts and how it is affected by changes in the environment.
  • Science Friday: Recording the Global Soundscape
    What is the sound of your local environment? How does it make you feel? How will it sound in the future? Ecologist Bryan Pijanowski is looking to answer these questions and create a soundscape of every ecosystem on the planet through the Global Soundscapes project. (9:50 min.)
  • Eavesdropping on Ecosystems
    Researchers are collecting terabytes of recordings, from bird chirps to chainsaw roars. The emerging field of soundscape ecology has a lot to offer... and a lot to prove.

Foxfire Interactive

Purdue University

Masters Digital

Connecticut Science Center

National Audubon Society

Perkins School for the Blind