By Amelia Perry, Project Officer


In the run-up to British Science Week (11-20 March), we’re calling on the public for assistance in the name of bats!

We humans are absolutely fantastic at hearing, and Bat Detective – an online citizen science project – is asking the public to lend their ears to an experiment which will help scientists to find bat calls in audio bat survey recordings.

Set up by a group of scientists based at the University College of London, and developed in partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), the project involves the user distinguishing between different bat calls – searching, feeding and socialising – and background noises such as the buzz of insects, cars and machinery.

The ultimate goal is to use citizen classifications to make a new automatic computer algorithm that researchers all over the world can use to extract information out of their recordings, making it easier to track population changes of bats, which will undoubtedly aid in their conservation.

With classifications pouring in from all over the world, from bat colonies at home in the UK to the other side of the globe, the British Science Association is setting a goal of 100,000 classifications of bat calls across the 10 days of British Science Week. And we need your help to meet this target...

Follow our instructions made-easy below:

  • Go to!/classify to get started
  • Listen to the audio clip that may feature a variety of sounds
  • Using your mouse cursor, highlight a section of the sound spectrogram that you wish to identify
  • Using the cursor, draw a box around each individual sound in the highlighted region
  • Using the field guide at the bottom of the page, identify the sound from its audio or its appearance/shape – is it a bat call, insect or machinery?
  • If it’s a bat call, specify whether you think it’s a social, searching or feeding call.
  • Save your selection
  • Repeat until you have identified every sound in the spectrogram, before moving onto another new clip

Watch the video tutorialhere, and help achieve the goal by getting involved with Bat Detective.

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