Calling in Our Corals (Google)

James Parker


Calling in Our Corals is an ‘interactive citizen science platform’ led by bio-acoustician Steve Simpson and marine ecologist Mary Shodipo and produced in partnership with Google Arts and Culture Lab. The project was officially launched at COP27 in 2022, to some fanfare. The idea is to train members of the public to identify and tag fish sounds in recordings of coral reefs under catastrophic threat by overfishing and anthropogenic climate change. And then to use this data to train Google’s computers to listen to and ultimately intervene in and modulate the sounds of the reef.


Spend some time with the project website, training yourself to listen to the reef, and then attempting to train Google’s computers in turn. What do you notice? How effective do you think this project is likely to be? What can tell us about the growing automation of acoustic ecology and the place of Big Tech in addressing and exacerbating climate change?


Calling in Our Corals -

Gordon et al, ‘Acoustic enrichment can enhance fish community development on degraded coral reef habitat’

Ritts and Bakker, ‘Conservation Acoustics’

Interview with Max Ritts on ML site

Something good on citizen science

Lucas Joppa, ‘The case for technology investments in the environment.’ Nature

Ellis Jones, ‘Rethinking Greenwashing’ (2019)