Douglas Nowacek

Nowacek

Randolph K. Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers University Distinguished 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 Distinguished Professor of Conservation Technology in Environment and Engineering
  • Professor
  • Professor in the Department 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
  • Websites:

Education

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

Research Interests

Marine mammal behavioral and acoustic ecology
Ocean noise
Offshore renewable energy

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Sally Connally Hardie Visiting Researcher. University of St. Andrews, Scotland. 2018
  • Visiting Scholar. University of Tasmania. 2013

Courses Taught

  • BIOLOGY 279LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • BIOLOGY 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 292: Projects in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 384LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECE 461: Ocean Engineering
  • ECE 590: Advanced Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ECS 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering
  • ENVIRON 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • ENVIRON 394A: Research Independent Study
  • ENVIRON 461: Ocean Engineering
  • ENVIRON 723A: Offshore Renewable Energy & Wildlife Conservation
  • ENVIRON 784LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • MARSCI 280LA: Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
  • MARSCI 323A: Offshore Renewable Energy & Wildlife Conservation
  • ME 426: Ocean Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Segre, PS; Gough, WT; Roualdes, EA; Cade, DE; Czapanskiy, MF; Fahlbusch, J; Kahane-Rapport, SR; Oestreich, WK; Bejder, L; Bierlich, KC; Burrows, JA; Calambokidis, J; Chenoweth, EM; di Clemente, J; Durban, JW; Fearnbach, H; Fish, FE; Friedlaender, AS; Hegelund, P; Johnston, DW; Nowacek, DP; Oudejans, MG; Penry, GS; Potvin, J; Simon, M; Stanworth, A; Straley, JM; Szabo, A; Videsen, SKA; Visser, F; Weir, CR; Wiley, DN; Goldbogen, JA, Scaling of maneuvering performance in baleen whales: larger whales outperform expectations., The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 225 no. 5 (2022) [10.1242/jeb.243224] [abs].
  • Alves, F; Rosso, M; Li, S; Nowacek, DP, A sea of possibilities for marine megafauna., Science (New York, N.Y.), vol 375 no. 6579 (2022), pp. 391-392 [10.1126/science.abn6022] [abs].
  • Modest, M; Irvine, L; Andrews-Goff, V; Gough, W; Johnston, D; Nowacek, D; Pallin, L; Read, A; Moore, RT; Friedlaender, A, First description of migratory behavior of humpback whales from an Antarctic feeding ground to a tropical calving ground, Animal Biotelemetry, vol 9 no. 1 (2021) [10.1186/s40317-021-00266-8] [abs].
  • Savoca, MS; Czapanskiy, MF; Kahane-Rapport, SR; Gough, WT; Fahlbusch, JA; Bierlich, KC; Segre, PS; Di Clemente, J; Penry, GS; Wiley, DN; Calambokidis, J; Nowacek, DP; Johnston, DW; Pyenson, ND; Friedlaender, AS; Hazen, EL; Goldbogen, JA, Baleen whale prey consumption based on high-resolution foraging measurements., Nature, vol 599 no. 7883 (2021), pp. 85-90 [10.1038/s41586-021-03991-5] [abs].
  • Blawas, AM; Nowacek, DP; Rocho-Levine, J; Robeck, TR; Fahlman, A, Scaling of heart rate with breathing frequency and body mass in cetaceans., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, vol 376 no. 1830 (2021) [10.1098/rstb.2020.0223] [abs].