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
  • Professor
  • 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
  • Websites:

Education

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

Research Interests

Link between acoustic and motor behavior in marine mammals, specifically, how they use sound in ecological processes. Development of tools for marine conservation research

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 790: Special Topics
  • ENVIRON 790SA: Duke-Administered Study Away; Special Topics
  • ME 426: Ocean Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Pallin, LJ; Baker, CS; Steel, D; Kellar, NM; Robbins, J; Johnston, DW; Nowacek, DP; Read, AJ; Friedlaender, AS, High pregnancy rates in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) around the Western Antarctic Peninsula, evidence of a rapidly growing population., Royal Society Open Science, vol 5 no. 5 (2018) [10.1098/rsos.180017] [abs].
  • Root-Gutteridge, H; Cusano, DA; Shiu, Y; Nowacek, DP; Van Parijs, SM; Parks, SE, A lifetime of changing calls: North Atlantic right whales, Eubalaena glacialis , refine call production as they age, Animal Behaviour, vol 137 (2018), pp. 21-34 [10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.12.016] [abs].
  • Albertson, GR; Friedlaender, AS; Steel, DJ; Aguayo-Lobo, A; Bonatto, SL; Caballero, S; Constantine, R; Cypriano-Souza, AL; Engel, MH; Garrigue, C; Flórez-González, L; Johnston, DW; Nowacek, DP; Olavarría, C; Poole, MM; Read, AJ; Robbins, J; Sremba, AL; Baker, CS, Temporal stability and mixed-stock analyses of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the nearshore waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, Polar Biology, vol 41 no. 2 (2018), pp. 323-340 [10.1007/s00300-017-2193-1] [abs].
  • Stanistreet, J; Nowacek, D; Bell, J; Cholewiak, D; Hildebrand, J; Hodge, L; Van Parijs, S; Read, A, Spatial and seasonal patterns in acoustic detections of sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus along the continental slope in the western North Atlantic Ocean, Endangered Species Research, vol 35 (2018), pp. 1-13 [10.3354/esr00867] [abs].
  • Rycyk, AM; Deutsch, CJ; Barlas, ME; Hardy, SK; Frisch, K; Leone, EH; Nowacek, DP, Manatee behavioral response to boats, Marine Mammal Science (2018) [10.1111/mms.12491] [abs].