Dean's Update: Nancy Kelly Receives Award, New Research on Sand Tiger Shark, Devil Ray Habitats

April 25, 2019
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4.25.19

Hi everyone,

The semester might be winding down, but things are still going full steam around the school. To be mindful of that, let's get right to this week's news.

Good luck to those of you working on final projects and studying for your upcoming exams!

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Nancy Kelly award

GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL STUDENT COUNCIL HONORS KELLY
Join me in congratulating Nancy Kellyfor receiving the Graduate & Professional Student Council’s Jo Rae Wright Student Advocacy Award, which recognizes outstanding support of graduate and professional students. “Nancy is a pillar of the Duke LGBTQIA+ graduate and professional student community, without whom so much of this community’s fight for more visibility, recognition and understanding would not be possible,” her nomination read.

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Sand tiger shark

SAND TIGER SHARKS RETURN TO SAME SHIPWRECKS OFF N.C. COAST
Photos taken months, and in some cases years, apart by scuba divers show female sand tiger sharks returning to the same shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast, a new study led by Duke Marine Lab visiting scholar Avery Paxton reveals. This display of “site fidelity” suggests the shipwrecks are important habitats for the globally vulnerable species. Undergrad Erica Blair and Brian Silliman served as co-authors. Read more>

ENDANGERED RAYS MAY HAVE PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN BIRTHING ZONE
The discovery of dozens of pregnant giant devil rays accidentally caught in fishing nets along Mexico’s northern Gulf of California could mean the endangered species has a previously unknown birthing zone in nearby waters. PhD student Leo Gaskins, who authored the peer-reviewed paper, says authorities and local fishers should work together to devise a plan that minimizes the risk of negative interactions, if further research confirms the findings. Read more>
 
COMMENTARY: TIME TO RE-THINK THE USE OF FLAME RETARDANTS
Two of the world’s leading environmental chemists, Heather Stapleton and Jacob de Boer of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, suggest in a new peer-reviewed commentary in Science that it’s time to re-evaluate the necessity of halogenated flame retardant use in some products and replace them, whenever possible, with safer alternatives.  “No one wants to compromise fire safety,” they write, “but to protect human and environmental health, it is crucial that the use of flame retardants is critically evaluated to determine where they are needed and where they are not.” Read more>
 
PAPER ILLUSTRATES VALUE OF ANIMAL TRACKING DATA
new paper co-authored by Daniel DunnPat Halpin and Connie Kot, associate in research for the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, is the featured review and cover article of the May issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The paper uses case studies from around the world to illustrate the value of marine animal tracking data to inform conservation policy and management, including reductions in fisheries bycatch and vessel strikes.
 

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HARLEM LACROSSE STUDENTS TO LEARN ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
On Friday, a group of 25 middle school students with the Harlem Lacrosse Programwill be visiting Grainger Hall to learn about environmental science and research with Nicki Cagle. This visit is part of a larger program where these students focus on campus tours and interaction with faculty and leadership at several schools and institutes, as well direct interaction with the men’s and women’s lacrosse coaches and student athletes.

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Undergrad poster session

Congrats to our undergraduate students who presented their Graduation with Distinction, Capstone Project, and Sustainability Engagement Certificate research! #WeAreDukeEnvironment

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Gulf of California class trip
Students in our community-based marine conservation class camped out among the Sonoran Desert cacti and learned about clam fishing as they kicked off their two weeks in the Gulf of California. While in Mexico, they’ll learn about the unique natural and political history, and social characteristics of the places where conservation takes place. Photo: @coastsandcommons and @lily_catherine9 #WeAreDukeEnvironment
 
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#WeAreDukeEnvironment

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Nicholas School of the Environment