Douglas Nowacek

Douglas Nowacek

Randolph K. Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers University Associate Professor of Conservation Technology in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of 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 the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of 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 384A: Marine Conservation Biology - a Practicum
  • BIOLOGY 493A: Research Independent Study
  • BIOLOGY 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 384LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 391: Undergraduate Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 493: Undergraduate Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 495: Special Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENERGY 395: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 396: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 795: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENERGY 796: Connections in Energy: Interdisciplinary Team Projects
  • ENVIRON 270A: Conservation Biology and Policy
  • ENVIRON 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 346A: Marine Conservation Policy - A Practicum
  • ENVIRON 384A: Marine Conservation Biology - a Practicum
  • ENVIRON 393: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 393A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 593: Independent Studies and Projects
  • ENVIRON 709A: Conservation Biology and Policy
  • ENVIRON 746A: Marine Conservation Summer Institute
  • ENVIRON 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 899: Master's Project
  • EOS 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • PUBPOL 246A: Marine Conservation Policy - A Practicum
  • PUBPOL 946A: Marine Conservation Summer Institute

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Xian, Y; Sun, X; Liao, W; Zhang, Y; Nowacek, D; Nolte, L, Intrinsic structure study of whale vocalizations, OCEANS 2016 MTS/IEEE Monterey, OCE 2016 (2016) [10.1109/OCEANS.2016.7761101] [abs].
  • Nowacek, DP; Christiansen, F; Bejder, L; Goldbogen, JA; Friedlaender, AS, Studying cetacean behaviour: new technological approaches and conservation applications, Animal Behaviour, vol 120 (2016), pp. 235-244 [10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.07.019] [abs].
  • Kraus, SD; Kenney, RD; Mayo, CA; McLellan, WA; Moore, MJ; Nowacek, DP, Recent Scientific Publications Cast Doubt on North Atlantic Right Whale Future, Frontiers in Marine Science, vol 3 (2016) [10.3389/fmars.2016.00137] [abs].
  • Stanistreet, JE; Nowacek, DP; Read, AJ; Baumann-Pickering, S; Moors-Murphy, HB; Van Parijs, SM, Effects of duty-cycled passive acoustic recordings on detecting the presence of beaked whales in the northwest Atlantic., The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol 140 no. 1 (2016) [10.1121/1.4955009] [abs].
  • Tyson, RB; Friedlaender, AS; Nowacek, DP, Does optimal foraging theory predict the foraging performance of a large air-breathing marine predator?, Animal Behaviour, vol 116 (2016), pp. 223-235 [10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.03.034] [abs].