Seas The Day is a podcast produced at the Duke University Marine Lab, in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Reflecting the diverse research and educational interests of faculty, students, and staff, Seas the Day covers a wide range of topics related to marine science and conservation. We talk about some of the biggest animals in the oceans and some of the smallest. We talk about management efforts by local communities and by international agreements. We hear from natural and social scientists, engineers, and lawyers, artists and authors.

So, yes, we talk about research.

But we also talk about the lives of researchers, staff, and students.

And about life on a remote campus and in a small coastal town.  


Episode 1. August 25, 2020


Fishing for Gender Equity with Dr. Hillary Smith

Episode 29. March 31, 2022

For this episode of PhDeep, Becca Horan interviews Duke Marine Science and Conservation alumna and current postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Hillary Smith, to learn more about her research on gender equity in small scale fisheries and how she navigated the PhD while becoming a parent, mentoring undergrads, and facing the daunting task of dissertation writing with a buddy. Part of our PhDeep Series.


Episode 30

Stay tuned!


Episode 28. February 16, 2022

Artificial Islands

In this episode, Cat and Jingyi discuss artificial islands and their role in ocean development. They examine some of the island nations in the Pacific Ocean, such as Kiribati, that are ‘sinking’ due to sea-level-rise and explore how artificial islands might offer such places a solution to this imminent crisis. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Episode 27. February 2, 2022

Science in the Sargasso Sea

In this episode, Lisa Campbell shares a story of sailing, science, and Sargassum. Based on a 3-day research cruise to the Sargasso Sea, the story  was originally developed during a workshop with The Story Collider, a non-profit organization that “helps people of all walks of life — from scientists to doctors to patients to engineers to teachers to firefighters — tell their true, personal stories about science.”  Not only did the workshop inspire this particular story, it motivated Lisa to think about podcasting as something she might do. Part of our Lab Notes Series.

Episode 26. January 19, 2022

How do we know whales are mammals?

How old were you when you found out whales were mammals? It feels like an obvious fact now, but did you ever wonder who first decided to put these fish-like titans of the ocean in the same group as mice and foxes? In this episode, Brandon Gertz follows the story of how whales became mammals, from the birth of natural history over 2,000 years ago to modern genetics.

Episode 25. December 14, 2021

The WOW Project: Sailing towards a future in renewable energy

In this episode, Nora Ives sits down with faculty member Dr. Doug Nowacek to discuss his newly awarded Department of Energy funded WOW project, which stands for wildlife and offshore wind. Nora and Doug discuss some of the potential impacts of offshore wind on wildlife, mitigation measures, and goals of the WOW project.  Part of The F-Files series.

Episode 24. November 17, 2021

On this episode, Rafa Lobo introduces two new members of our team: Rebecca Horan and Junyao Gu. Junyao runs the show, exploring the ins and outs of a PhD program application process. She interviews five PhD students and our doctoral program coordinator, to learn about the biggest challenges, reasons to do it, tips for those wishing to apply, as well as some systemic inequalities inherent in the process – and how to potentially overcome them. Part of our PhDeep series.

Episode 23. November 3, 2021

Wildlife poaching

In this episode, Bo, Victoria, and Katie tackle the controversial topic of illegal wildlife hunting, or ‘poaching’, and equally controversial efforts to combat it through increased militarization of protection efforts, including ‘shoot-to-kill’ policies.  They approach the topic from a variety of angles, looking at history of the term ‘poaching’, changing attitudes to hunting over time, the role of social media, and the variety of ways  governments and organizations have tried to combat illegal practices. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Episode 22. October 20, 2021

Fisheries sustainability and seafood security

This episode features an interview with Duke Professor Martin Smith by The Doorstep, a podcast by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Hosts Nikolas K. Gvosdev and Tatiana Serafin interviewed Marty in April 2021, on topics of fisheries sustainability, food security, and ocean governance generally. Their conversation ranges widely, from new policy initiatives of the Biden administration to old policy legacies of the cold war. It is ‘on topic’ for Seas the Day and we are grateful to The Doorstep for permission to republish it here. Regular listeners may remember Marty from episode 3 of Seas the Day, when he was interviewed by Kendall Jeffferys and Lauren Mariolis on the future of aquaculture. Part of our Lab Notes Series.


Episode 21. October 6, 2021

Marine protected area targets

The Convention of Biological Diversity is set to meet in October 2021 and will discuss adopting a new target of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030. Over the last two decades, there has been a drastic increase in the number of large-scale marine protected areas (MPAs) driven mainly by international MPA targets and a “bigger is better” approach to conservation. In this episode, Megan Swanson and Sage Riddick explore how these often remote ocean spaces can still have important social impacts by looking at two cases: the Chagos Marine Protected Area and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Disaster capitalism

Episode 20. September 15, 2021

Welcome to season 2 of Sea the Day. In this episode, Colleen Baker, Crystal Franco, and Claudia Meca van den Berg explore disaster capitalism, described in Naomi Klein’s 2007 book: The Shock Doctrine, as the way institutions take advantage of natural disasters to promote capitalist, neoliberal agendas, under the bill of “build back better.” To illustrate her case, Klein describes how Sri Lanka and other nations tried to use the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami to “build back better,” introducing that phrase into development for the first time. Now, more than 15 years after the disaster, Colleen, Crystal, and Claudia talk about what happened after the tsunami, how the recovery and development process worked, and whether there are ways to build back better, better. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Memorializing the Middle Passage in the Deep Atlantic

Episode 19. June 2, 2021

With a focus on  “Memorializing the Middle Passage on the Atlantic seabed in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (published in the journal of Marine Policy in October 2020), episode host, Stephanie Hillsgrove interviews two of the authors from the paper – Dr. Phillip Turner, Duke University Alumni and Dr. Cindy Van Dover, Professor of Biological Oceanography at Duke University. This is the last episode before our summer break, introducing our new series, The F-Files.

Deep-sea mining: Risks, rewards, and resistance

Episode 18. May 19, 2021

Deep-sea mining is a topic of hot debate as groups argue over whether it will be good or bad for the countries where deep sea resources are found. On this episode, Masha Edmondson and Brandon Gertz explore the risks, rewards, and resistance deep-sea mining has sparked in three pacific island nations: Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, and Fiji. Along the way, deep sea experts Dr. Cindy van Dover and Ph.D. student Elisabetta Menini from Duke University help explain the environmental and human impacts of deep-sea mining and the actions that can be taken to avoid them. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

COVID-19 and plastic pollution

Episode 17. May 5, 2021

In this podcast, Maddie Paris and Maya Lytje discuss how COVID-19 has influenced marine plastic pollution. They explore the marine conservation, human health, and international equity implications of plastic pollution through the lens of the ongoing pandemic. In exploring these issues, the pair interviews Dr. Dan Rittschof, a professor at the Duke Marine Lab, and John Hocevar, the Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director, to get their perspectives. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Global or local conservation? NGOs in developing countries

Episode 16. April 21, 2021

In this episode, Rafaella Lobo and Jessica Zhao explore the role of non-government organizations (NGOs)  in promoting conservation in developing countries. They focus in particular on the role of and relations among Big International NGOs (BINGOs) and small, local NGOs, the strengths and weaknesses of each. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

The right whale to save

Episode 15. April 7, 2021

On this episode, Lillian Dukes, Haoyang Tang, and Franny Oppenheimer address the current status of the North Atlantic right whale and the threats they face like entanglements, ship strikes, and climate change. The episode also explores management measures that have been taken to protect them and considers the future of this critically endangered whale. Part of our Whale Pod series.

Vaquita rescue mission

Episode 14. March 17, 2021

On this episode, Bree Collins and Erin Sullivan speak with Dr. Andy Read and Dr. Randy Wells about their past, present, and future efforts to save the critically endangered vaquita. Part of our Whale Pod series.

Finding the people in the politics: International students in the US

Episode 13. March 03, 2021

On this episode, the host, Rafaella Lobo, talks to five current and former students, as well as a faculty member, about their experiences leaving their home countries to pursue higher education in the US. Part of our PhDeep series.

Indigenous tourism

Episode 12. February 17, 2021

In this episode, Maggie, Lily, and Savannah explore the intersections between ecotourism and Indigenous tourism. Using the lens of agency, they use specific cases to highlight how the agency of Indigenous peoples within tourism ventures varies, and with what consequences. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Local communities and ecotourism: Empowerment or disempowerment?

Episode 11. February 03, 2021

Ecotourism has been touted as a way to limit the destruction of natural habitats caused by mass tourism, while supplementing income of local communities in developing nations. While good in theory, how successful has ecotourism been at empowering the people who live in the beautiful places ecotourists want to visit? In this podcast, Cindy Pan, Melissa Baldino, and Virginia Pan investigate the impacts of ecotourism initiatives on local communities, with the help of Duke University Marine Lab assistant professor Dr. David Gill. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Tourism in the Bahamas

Episode 10. January 20, 2021

In this episode, Emily Melvin and Katrina Rosing delve into the complexities of tourism in the Bahamas. The two discuss how tourism affects Bahamian identity and promotes colonial legacies even today. In exploring these issues, they interview Tarran Simms of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s sustainability department, who discusses his views of Bahamian identity, the interplay of that identity with tourism, and the emergence of new forms of tourism in the Bahamas. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Holiday hiatus

Episode 9. December 16, 2020

In the last episode of 2020, the Seas the Day team reflects on the work done to date and plans for 2021. The first episode of 2021 will be available on January 20th.

Sound effects: Noise & marine mammals

Episode 8. December 2, 2020

This episode focuses on man-made sound in the ocean and how it affects marine mammals, including the largest animal to have ever lived on earth – the blue whale. It was produced in the summer of 2020 by Duke undergraduate students Rand Alotaibi, Lauren Mahoney, and Madena Mustafa. The students speak with Jeanne Shearer, Nicola Quick, and Doug Nowacek, scientists from the Duke University Marine Lab, about this issue and explore the different ways scientists, such as those at Duke, are working to study the effects of sound on marine mammals. Part of our Whale Pod series.

What’s killing killer whales?

Episode 7. November 18, 2020

On this episode Marissa Garcia, Uma Govindswamy, and Connor Johnston discuss the past, present, and future relationship between human beings and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales who inhabit the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. Part of our Whale Pod series.

Dolphins in distress: The Taiwanese white dolphin

Episode 6. November 3, 2020

In this episode, Pavel Pivarshev and Antonio Garcia discuss the status and future of the Taiwanese white dolphin, an endangered species facing peril from modern urbanization and fishing practices. The first of the Whale Pod episodes.

Japan has left the IWC: Now what?

Episode 5. October 21, 2020

Why did Japan leave the IWC and why do we care? In this episode, Andrea Kolarova, Emma Shannabrook, and Colyer Woolston explore the history of geopolitics in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to understand why Japan left the organization, and what this means for the future of whales, whaling, and the IWC itself. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

The plastic burden

Episode 4. October 7, 2020

With images of garbage clogging up the Pacific and straw bans popping up from city to city, it’s fair to say that marine plastic pollution has caught the public’s eye. But how do we solve the plastic problem– do we stop it at the source, place blame on consumers, target big corporations, or figure out the best technology to remove it once it enters the water?  In this episode, Ali Boden and Cass Nieman explore the plastic burden as it is passed along the supply chain. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Aquaculture: A new food frontier?

Episode 3. September l6, 2020

With the world population projected to reach 10 billion in the next 30 years, it is reasonable to wonder: what will the future landscapes of food production look like? Or should we say… seascapes. In this episode, Kendall Jefferys and Lauren A. Mariolis explore the potential and pitfalls of aquaculture. Part of our Conservation and Development Series.

Research ‘off the rails’ during COVID-19

Episode 2. September 2, 2020

Host Rafaella Lobo talks to four other PhD students in Marine Science and Conservation at the Duke University Marine Lab to understand how the COVID-19 global pandemic has affected their lives and research, and how they have learned to cope in a time of uncertainty. Part of our PhDeep series.