Dr. David W. Johnston

Dr. David W. Johnston is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Marine Conservation & Ecology at Duke University. Johnston holds a PhD from Duke University and received post-doctoral training at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California. His professional experience ranges from leading research programs for NOAA to working as an ecologist within the NGO sector. Johnston’s research program focuses on the ecology and habitat needs of marine vertebrates in relation to pressing conservation issues such as climate change, habitat loss, ocean noise, incidental mortality and over-harvests. He has published extensively in top journals in the fields of conservation biology, oceanography, marine ecology and marine policy on research that spans tropical, temperate and polar biomes. Johnston is an innovative teacher with experience in both large and small classrooms, and is skilled in Massive Open Online Courses, field-based learning situations, data visualization and digital textbook development and publication.

Johnston Lab

Dr. Ari Friedlaender

Ari is an ecologist with a primary interest in the understanding the relationship between the foraging behavior of marine mammals and their prey. Ari works on a wide range of marine mammal species including baleen and toothed whales and dolphins across a range of geographic regions. Ari has long-term ecological research projects ongoing in Alaska, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Antarctica. Ari has helped in the development of tag technology and analytical and visualization tools to better understand the underwater movements and behaviors of marine mammals. Ari’s lab focuses primarily on developing new telemetry applications to elucidate the underwater behavior of marine mammals.

Friedlaender Lab

Julian Dale

Julian joins the Duke team as a Research Technician, building and flying sUAV’s and assisting with the post processing of data. Julian comes from a mechanical engineering background with extensive experience in mechanical design and manufacture with a strong electronics understanding. He has spent a number of years working with the Sea Mammal Research Unit in Scotland as a technician involved in both field research of marine mammals and the design and development of hardware. In Latter years he provided independent engineering consultancy services to the University. Julian has managed several successful start up companies involved in the marine trade, ocean engineering, data collection, data distribution platforms and commercial research vessel charter. When he’s not busy at work or managing businesses, he loves to spend time with his wife and two daughters. His passions in life involve anything adrenaline-based either out on the water (in it, on it or under it), up in the mountains or simply tinkering in the garage.

Colin Stief

Colin Stief holds a masters degree in coastal environmental management from the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment. As part of his course of study, Colin developed the viewer technology for the Race For Water drone data using open source software. He is interested in communicating science to all audiences using geospatial technology and digital media. In his free time, he dabbles with web design, reads a lot of Isaac Asimov, and plays as much basketball as he can.

Morgan Vrana

Morgan is an undergraduate student who studied at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in spring 2015. Morgan is a biology and neuroscience double major at Allegheny College. She plans to pursue graduate school, obtain her Ph.D. and become a marine ecologist. While at Duke, Morgan completed an independent study that focused on the spectral reflectance of plastics using RGB and Red Edge cameras. Her work is helping the team use new approaches to detect plastics on shorelines using the senseFly eBee.