Welcome to the Nowacek Acoustics and Engineering Lab

Part of the Marine Conservation Ecology group at the Duke Marine Lab

Our lab combines research in marine mammal bioacoustics and behavioral ecology with the development of new tools for oceanographic research. Dr. Nowacek holds joint appointments in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Pratt School of Engineering. Through this unique combination, we work in the novel area of Marine Conservation Technology.

Mammal Bioacoustics

Mammal Bioacoustics

We study the acoustic behavior of marine mammals via collaboration with existing tagging programs and using standalone acoustic monitors. This enables us to learn about the effects of anthropogenic noise on behavior, since sound propagates very efficiently through sea water.

Behavioral Ecology

Behavioral Ecology

The behavioral ecology of marine animals (e.g., foraging behavior, social behavior and communication) is important to understanding the long-term fitness of a species. Our studies involve tagging programs and observations in the field, as well as predictive modeling in the lab.

Conservation Technology

Conservation Technology

We also develop new technologies for marine conservation research, ranging from unmanned aerial systems to sensor development to integrated acoustic systems. Oceanographic research relies heavily on technology for collecting data, especially in this era of increased capabilities of miniaturized electronics and unmanned systems.

Hot off the press: Studying cetacean behaviour: new technological approaches and conservation applications

Animal behaviour can provide valuable information for wildlife management and conservation. We describe several methods developed by marine mammal scientists to study behaviour, primarily of cetaceans, focusing on technological advances: unmanned aerial systems (UAS), satellite-linked telemetry, passive acoustics and multisensor high-resolution acoustic recording tags. We then go on to explain how the data collected

‘Bio-duck’ sound mystery solved!

For a half century a sound heard in the Southern Ocean and beyond has baffled acousticians. The noise – nicknamed “the bio-duck” – appears in the winter and spring. The repetitive, low frequency noise has been recorded many times in the waters around the Antarctic and western Australia. Our paper has

Nowacek works with team to make seismic surveys safer for cetaceans

Nowacek and colleagues publish paper on responsible practices for seismic surveys. The paper, published in the current issue of the journal Aquatic Mammals, was the result of a collaboration between scientists with the Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s  Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel and the Russian consortium, Sakhalin

Opportunities for PhD students in 2014

The Ph.D. program requires completion of a dissertation containing the results of original and substantive research. Typically, graduate students spend several years conducting field or laboratory work after completion of courses and successful defense of their preliminary examinations. All Ph.D. students are supported by an external fellowship, a Research Assistantship,

Nowacek participates in 12th IUCN Panel meeting

From 31 October – 8 November Nowacek will attend the 12th meeting of the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP), which is being held in Busan, Korea.  The WGWAP is convened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is charged with minimizing the risk of oil

SeaGlider records dolphins off the NC coast

The Nowacek lab successfully deployed a digital acoustic monitor (DMON) on a SeaGlider. Working with iRobot’s Maritime Division, the Nowacek lab successfully deployed a digital acoustic monitor (DMON) on a SeaGlider off the NC coast.  As part of a university-industry partnership, the Duke Marine Lab and iRobot are working together