Dean’s Update: Remembering Curt Moffatt, David Johnston's new drone paper, Marine Lab recognized for teamwork and more

January 9, 2019
Dean's Update Toddi Steelman Masthead 720w.jpg
Dean's Update-A Note from Toddi.jpg

1.9.19

Happy New Year and welcome back!
 
It is with profound sadness that I share the news that Curt Moffatt, chair of our Board of Visitors, passed away Dec. 28 while on vacation with his family.
 
Curt was more than a friend of the Nicholas School and Marine Lab, he was one of our great champions, with an unwavering commitment to our mission. His keen intellect and clear-eyed understanding of environmental issues – honed during a nearly 40-year career as one of the nation’s most respected energy and environmental legal counsels – were leavened with a spark of optimism and sense of purpose that were contagious.  
His joy in helping us celebrate our $20 million gift and the renaming of Grainger Hall last November was palpable. The image of him grinning from ear to ear all night long is one I will always remember.
 
We will miss his wisdom, encouragement and enthusiasm.
 
Please join me in extending deepest condolences to Curt’s wife, Piper, and their family in this difficult time.

curt.moffatt.jpg
Weekly Update Header-FacultyNews.jpg
dave johnston drone.jpg

JOHNSTON PUBLISHES PEER-REVIEWED OVERVIEW ON DRONES

Dave Johnston recently published a peer-reviewed overview on the use of unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS) in the journal Annual Review of Marine Science. The article explains the technology as well as how drones are revolutionizing marine science and conservation by providing on-demand remote sensing capabilities at low cost and with reduced human risk. The paper offers details on potential effects of drones on marine wildlife and a look to the future of is use in the field.

Weekly Update Header-StaffNews.jpg
duml hurricane florence.jpg

MARINE LAB WINS FIRST DUKE FACILITIES TEAM AWARD

Last month, the Marine Lab facilities crew won the first Duke University Facilities Management Team Award in recognition of their hard work and dedication during Hurricane Florence recovery. The well-deserved honor is meant to recognize a team that accomplishes a project while embodying the university value of teamwork. The team is made up by Michael Cox, Anita Kemp, Zach Thomas, Dana Gillikin, Mike Golden, Hazel George, Mimi Brown, Tammy Bennett and Steve Palumbo. Congrats!

Weekly Update Header-Research.jpg
brandt strontium image.jpg

FISH EAR BONES CAN HELP TRACK COAL ASH CONTAMINATION

A study, led by 2018 PhD graduate Jessica Brandt, shows that trace elements in a fish’s ear bones can be used to identify and track coal ash contamination in the waters where it lived. Brandt, alongside Nancy Lauer, Avner Vengosh, Emily Bernhardt and Rich Di Giulio, found that strontium isotope ratios in the otoliths of fish from Mayo Lake and Sutton Lake matched the ratios in samples collected from sediment at the bottom of those lakes. Read more>

BIOMASS NOT INCREASED BY DECADES OF SOIL WARMING

Ram Oren co-authored a new paper that questions the long-hypothesized notion that increased soil organic matter decomposition due to rising temperatures stimulates forest biomass production and offsets carbon losses. The 18-year study did not find significantly-increasing aboveground biomass accumulation after exposing a boreal forest to long-term soil warming manipulation.

Weekly Update Header-Events.jpg
imep.jpg

HELP WELCOME IMEP STUDENTS TO DURHAM

Help us welcome the eight International Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) students who have traveled from Duke Kunshan to spend the spring semester with us in Durham. The Nicholas School will host a welcome coffee at 9 a.m. Thursday at Grainger Hall's second floor art gallery. There will also be a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Jan. 14 at the Landing in the Bryan Center for the Duke community to welcome these students.

Weekly Update Header-StudentNews.jpg

APPLY BY JAN. 15 TO SPEND SEMESTER AT DUKE KUNSHAN

Master's students at the Nicholas School and the Sanford School of Public Policy can apply to spend their third semester studying at Duke Kunshan University in China through the iMEP program. Applications are due Jan. 15. More info>

imep promo.png

LAB STUDENTS PUBLISH PAPERS ON SEA TURTLE DRONE RESEARCH

Members of the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab have published papers based on their research using drones to study different facets of sea turtle conservation. PhD student Patrick Gray published a paper that found that using drones along with artificial intelligence is an efficient way to measure sea turtle populations. The neural network model used in the study detected 8 percent more turtles than manual counts. Last month, Anna Windle MEM’18 published a new paper on using a terrestrial rover to take high-resolution light measurements in both brightly lit and darker beaches where sea turtles nest. The study shows that light pollution from coastal development may influence turtle nesting distribution.

Weekly Update Header-WhatsTrending.jpg
Dean's Update Header Twitter.jpg

twitter.jpg

Construction of our new 72-foot vessel, which is outfitted for scientific research and education, is well under way. The vessel is expected to arrive in Beaufort this fall.

Dean's Update Header Instagram.jpg
instagram.jpg
The sun is rising on a new semester. #WeAreDukeEnvironment
Dean's Update We're Celebrating .jpg

#WeAreDukeEnvironment

Dean's Update Header social media.jpg
Dean's Update NSOE Horiz Logo.jpg