This project enables global open access to MBARI’s passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) data through a partnership with AWS.  Because sound sources of interest span a tremendous range of frequencies, within and far outside the range of human hearing, we must record sound across a very broad spectrum. Capturing information at the high-frequency end of this range requires that we sample at a fast rate (more than 250,000 times each second). This sampling requirement produces a tremendous flow of data, approximately 2 terabytes per month from a single hydrophone.

Sharing of such a large amount of data is challenging.  While all original full-resolution (256 kHz) data are accessible through this project, many research applications are well served by data with a much lower sample rate.  To support such research applications with a much lower data volume, we provide daily files of recordings at 16 kHz and 2 kHz.  To facilitate use of the data, we also provide Jupyter notebooks that can be applied and adapted to study natural and anthropogenic sound, explore methods, or simply listen to recordings from any time within the archive (7 years and growing).

Open data works.  We were convinced of this when we first checked our access statistics in April of 2022.  During that month nearly 2 petabytes of data access occurred, originating from 11 countries.  And beyond applications to scientific research, we support open access to select high-quality recordings for use in the acoustic arts.


Documentation and tutorials on how to use pacific-sound data in the AWS Open Data registry can be found here.



Zhang, Y., P.R. McGill, and J.P. Ryan. 2022. Optimized design of windowed-sinc anti-aliasing filters for phase-preserving decimation of hydrophone data. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 151: 1–9.

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