EOS 393A. Research Independent Study – Nicholas School Undergraduate Programs

EOS 393A. Research Independent Study

Curriculum Code: R | Credit: 1.0 course (3 semester hours) | Course Travel?: No

Individual research in a field of special interest under the supervision of a faculty member, the central goal of which is a substantive paper or written report containing significant analysis and interpretation of a previously approved topic. Open to students with approval of a research advisor at the Marine Lab (see below for a list of available projects in various departments).


Current research projects available:

Humberto Diaz – Tropical marine ecology; aquaculture Room 210, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7611;hdiaz@duke.edu 1) Growth and adhesion changes in barnacles along a tidal range. Larval culture and settlement of the barnacle Amphibalanus amphitites on glass panels coated with silicone will be done two weeks before the field work starts. Experimental plates will be maintained under the DUML dock at different depths within the tidal range. Barnacle growth will be weekly measured using digital photography. After 5 weeks, barnacle adhesion will be determined. 2) Responses to visual cues in relation to concentration of chemical cues in hermit crabs. We seek to establish optimal “concentration” of several odor sources that evoke the presence of an empty shell or a predator. Black targets subtending different angles will be used as visual cues to measure responses to chemical cues. 3) Sutherland & Karlson revisited, looking for differences in a fouling community within a 40 years interval. This project is based on ideas and results obtained by JP Sutherland and RH Karlson at the beginning of the seventies, and published in Ecological Monographs, 1977, 47: 425-446. Although this project plans to replicate the seminal work, updated nondestructive sampling techniques are adopted for allowing shorter periods of sampling events, lowering the physical effort for data collection and accommodates for student’s time allotment. Fieldwork will be done at the Duke University Marine Laboratory floating docks during two consecutive years, starting spring/2014.

Jim Hench – Shallow-water physical oceanography, physical-biological interactions, and marine technology Room 308/309, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (650) 759-6639; jim.hench@duke.edu The Hench lab has openings for research on hydrodynamics and physical-biological interactions on coral reefs. Project topics include: 1) Modeling of wave-driven flow over coral reefs; 2) Analysis of extreme wave and temperature events on reefs; 3) Study of reef rugosity using high-resolution satellite imagery; 4) Understanding the interplay between water column mixing and dissolved oxygen in a highly stratified shallow estuary. More information can be found on Hench’s website:http://people.duke.edu/~jlh82/

Zackary Johnson – Biological oceanography and biotechnology Room 220, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7543;zij@duke.edu The Johnson Lab studies the abundance, diversity and activity of marine microbes. We study biological oceanography, marine molecular ecology, marine microbiology and biogeochemistry. Our research focuses on the marine cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus, the most abundant phytoplankton in the open oceans. Students interested in working with our group should email Dr. Johnson to discuss potential research topics. Dave Johnston – Historical ecology and coastal oceanography Room 111, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7593;david.johnston@duke.edu Research in coastal ecology, chemistry and hydrology has been conducted in Beaufort Inlet and Newport River Estuary for over one hundred years. These historical studies provide a valuable and largely untapped resource for current researchers, particularly those at the Duke University Marine Laboratory and neighboring institutions who continue to conduct studies at these locations. The student will develop a project in historical ecology to identify and visualize long-term changes in the local environment. Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Johnston to further discuss the project.

Doug Nowacek – Marine conservation, bioacoustics, marine mammals Lab 7 (Bookhout) Rm 117 phone (252) 504-7566 doug.nowacek@duke.edu Bioacoustics of marine mammals – analyzing acoustic data from animal-borne tags as well as moored acoustic systems. We are building a mosaic of acoustic data from the area around the marine lab, so students will be involved in this larger effort to map the ‘soundscape’. Also, molecular genetics of marine mammals – determining sex and stock status of marine mammals from biopsy samples.

Andy Read – Marine conservation biology, marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles, whales and whaling, and effects of fisheries on marine ecosystems. Room 104, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7509; aread@duke.edu Marine mammal acoustic monitoring: Student will become familiar with passive acoustic monitoring for marine mammals, and learn acoustic analysis techniques to investigate cetacean vocalizations in recordings collected offshore of Cape Hatteras, NC. The project focus will be on analyzing minke whale pulse train vocalizations, examining temporal patterns and categorizing call types and frequency of occurrence within the recordings.

Tom Schultz – Molecular biology Room 214, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7641; tfs3@duke.edu The Schultz lab has openings for 3-4 students. The lab uses molecular approaches to address questions in conservation genetics; specific topics include threatened river herring populations, pen shell populations in the Gulf of California, invasive blue crabs in the Mediterranean, and invasive lionfish. In addition we have been using next-generation sequencing to characterize tidal rhythms at a molecular level in mole crabs and fiddler crabs.

Brian Silliman – Marine conservation biology Room 314, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7635; brian.silliman@duke.eduThe Silliman lab has openings to work on several projects: 1) Impacts of physical stress on consumer pressure; 2) foods and disease; and 3) flow impacts on the distribution of local coral species. Students will help determine sites in which local corals are located around the marine lab and will assist in developing maps of their distributions. This work will provide invaluable information for projects on how flow and other environmental factors affect local coral distributions.

Michelangelo von Dassow – Biomechanics of development Room 306, Lab 7 (Bookhout); (252) 504-7597;mvondass@gmail.com My research goal is to understand how physical processes affect development-environment interactions. Current projects focus on (i) mechanical influences on developmental defects, and (ii) feedback between function and development in fluid transporting systems. Students will gain experience designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments in organismal biomechanics, while working with a fascinating and beautiful organism. Students are encouraged to suggest new projects on invertebrate development and biomechanics. Please contact me to discuss projects. Please note that competence with math, physics, and biology is essential. For example, students should be comfortable with unit conversions, dilutions, microscope use, and logarithms and derivatives. 1. The first project asks how salinity variation affects sea urchin development. Salinity variation can alter mechanical forces within an embryo due to osmotic changes in cell size. These changes in forces could make embryos more (or less) sensitive to toxins that disrupt morphogenesis. 2. The second project asks whether and how growing organisms use information from fluid flow to match form and function in systems that move fluids for swimming, feeding, or respiration. Study organisms for this project may include ctenophores, bryozoans, or sea squirts.