Welcome to Acoustic Atlas

About us

The Acoustic Atlas is curated by the Montana State University Library and includes more than 2500 recordings of species and environments from throughout the Western United States. Our collection emphasizes the strong connection between natural sounds and regional ecosystems, and features a growing number of recordings from Montana and the Yellowstone corridor. Sounds are provided with the help of volunteers, researchers, and through collaborations with agencies like the National Park Service.

The Acoustic Atlas will:

  • Document natural soundscapes that are increasingly impeded by human activity and development
  • Collaborate with researchers and educators in the biological sciences, media arts, human health, education, engineering, philosophy, and the social sciences
  • Connect people with the sounds of regional ecosystems and biodiversity

Partners:

Yellowstone National Park

Funders:

The Willow Springs Foundation and Montana State University. Make your donation to support the Acoustic Atlas.

Acknowledgements

Contributors and consultants include the Western Soundscape Archive at the University of Utah, the National Park Service, the USGS Amphibian Research Monitoring Initiative, the University of Washington Puget Sound Institute, and Dr. Kevin J. Colver. The Acoustic Atlas would like to thank the many individual volunteers, scientists, government agencies and academic institutions that have supplied the sound recordings that you hear on this website. Interested in contributing your sound recordings?

Our Team

Executive Director: Kenning Arlitsch, Library Dean
Program Director: Jeff Rice

Collection Development:
Molly Arrandale, Program Manager
Doralyn Rossmann, Collection Development Librarian

National Park Service:
Jennifer Jerrett, Audio Producer, Yellowstone National Park

Library Informatics and Computing:
Jason Clark, Digital Initiatives Librarian
Jim Espeland, Acoustic Atlas Technical Lead
Ben Hager, Library Systems Administrator

Project Consultants:
Dr. Kevin J. Colver

More about Acoustic Atlas

Collections of animal sounds and other environmental recordings have a wide range of applications and are important to many disciplines including biology, the media arts, human health, education, engineering, and the social sciences. Yet unlike photographs or video and film - media that are commonly collected in libraries - natural sound recordings are found in relatively few formal collections and audio recordings of many species in the United States are rare, hard to find, or are simply not available online.

Advances in digital recording have now made it easier to collect and share these sounds, but there is some urgency. Many of the environments and species that we will be featuring are disappearing. The landscape of the West is changing due to human population growth and climate change and, as habitats disappear, so do species and their sounds. The songs of birds and the calls of frogs are not just beautiful; they are a measure of the health of our environment.

To tell this story, we will develop collaborations with researchers, government agencies, and volunteers who will contribute sounds and other resources to the collection. We will also make our own recordings. We will visit some of the most beautiful and fragile parts of the West to capture recordings of iconic soundscapes, as well as rare and endangered species. We look forward to bringing these sounds and places to you.

Read more about the Acoustic Atlas in our brochure (PDF).

Image Use

Read about the use of images on the Acoustic Atlas