Douglas Nowacek

Douglas Nowacek

Randolph K. Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers University Associate Professor of Conservation Technology in Environment and Engineering

Sound propagates very efficiently through sea water, and marine mammals take advantage of this medium to communicate and explore their environment. My research is focused on the link between acoustic and motor behavior in marine mammals, primarily cetaceans and manatees, specifically, how they use sound in ecological processes. The cetaceans, or whales and dolphins, are divided into two main groups, the toothed whales (odontocetes) and the baleen whales (mysticetes). One of my specific areas of research is the use of echolocation and foraging behavior in one of the odontocetes, the bottlenose dolphin. Another focus of my current research is the effect(s) of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Randolph K. Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers University Associate Professor of Conservation Technology in Environment and Engineering
  • Associate Professor
  • Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Duke Univ Marine Lab, 135 Duke Marine Lab Rd, Beaufort, NC 28516
  • Office Phone: (252) 504-7566
  • Email Address: doug.nowacek@duke.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999
  • B.A. Ohio Wesleyan University, 1991

Research Interests

Sound propagates very efficiently through sea water, and marine mammals take advantage of this medium to communicate and explore their environment. My research is focused on the link between acoustic and motor behavior in marine mammals, primarily cetaceans and manatees, specifically, how they use sound in ecological processes. The cetaceans, or whales and dolphins, are divided into two main groups, the toothed whales (odontocetes) and the baleen whales (mysticetes). One of my specific areas of research is the use of echolocation and foraging behavior in one of the odontocetes, the bottlenose dolphin. Another focus of my current research is the effect(s) of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Visiting Scholar. University of Tasmania. 2013

Courses Taught

  • BIOLOGY 270A: Conservation Biology and Policy
  • BIOLOGY 279LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • BIOLOGY 293A: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 384LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 461: Ocean Engineering
  • ECE 495: Special Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 270A: Conservation Biology and Policy
  • ENVIRON 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 461: Ocean Engineering
  • ENVIRON 709A: Conservation Biology and Policy
  • ENVIRON 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 790SA: Duke-Administered Study Away; Special Topics
  • ME 426: Ocean Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Wilson, RM; Tyson, RB; Nelson, JA; Balmer, BC; Chanton, JP; Nowacek, DP, Niche Differentiation and Prey Selectivity among Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Sighted in St. George Sound, Gulf of Mexico, Frontiers in Marine Science, vol 4 (2017) [10.3389/fmars.2017.00235] [abs].
  • Tyson, RB; Piniak, WED; Domit, C; Mann, D; Hall, M; Nowacek, DP; Fuentes, MMPB, Novel Bio-Logging Tool for Studying Fine-Scale Behaviors of Marine Turtles in Response to Sound, Frontiers in Marine Science, vol 4 (2017) [10.3389/fmars.2017.00219] [abs].
  • Quick, N; Scott-Hayward, L; Sadykova, D; Nowacek, D; Read, A, Effects of a scientific echo sounder on the behavior of short-finned pilot whales ( Globicephala macrorhynchus ), Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, vol 74 no. 5 (2017), pp. 716-726 [10.1139/cjfas-2016-0293] [abs].
  • Paxton, AB; Taylor, JC; Nowacek, DP; Dale, J; Cole, E; Voss, CM; Peterson, CH, Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef, Marine Policy, vol 78 (2017), pp. 68-73 [10.1016/j.marpol.2016.12.017] [abs].
  • Quick, NJ; Isojunno, S; Sadykova, D; Bowers, M; Nowacek, DP; Read, AJ, Hidden Markov models reveal complexity in the diving behaviour of short-finned pilot whales., Scientific Reports, vol 7 (2017) [10.1038/srep45765] [abs].