Douglas Nowacek

Douglas Nowacek

Randolph K. Repass and Sally-Christine Rodgers University Associate Professor of Conservation Technology in the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering

Sound propagates very efficiently through sea water, and marine mammals take advantage of this medium to communicate and explore their environment. My research is focused on the link between acoustic and motor behavior in marine mammals, primarily cetaceans and manatees, specifically, how they use sound in ecological processes. The cetaceans, or whales and dolphins, are divided into two main groups, the toothed whales (odontocetes) and the baleen whales (mysticetes). One of my specific areas of research is the use of echolocation and foraging behavior in one of the odontocetes, the bottlenose dolphin. Another focus of my current research is the effect(s) of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals.

In The News


Quick, N, Scott-Hayward, L, Sadykova, D, Nowacek, D, and Read, A. "Effects of a scientific echo sounder on the behavior of short-finned pilot whales ( Globicephala macrorhynchus )." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 74, no. 5 (May 2017): 716-726.
Paxton, AB, Taylor, JC, Nowacek, DP, Dale, J, Cole, E, Voss, CM, and Peterson, CH. "Seismic survey noise disrupted fish use of a temperate reef." Marine Policy 78 (April 2017): 68-73.
Quick, NJ, Isojunno, S, Sadykova, D, Bowers, M, Nowacek, DP, and Read, AJ. "Hidden Markov models reveal complexity in the diving behaviour of short-finned pilot whales." Scientific reports 7 (March 31, 2017): 45765-.
van der Hoop, JM, Nowacek, DP, Moore, MJ, and Triantafyllou, MS. "Swimming kinematics and efficiency of entangled North Atlantic right whales." Endangered Species Research 32 (January 12, 2017): 1-17.
Southall, BL, Nowacek, DP, Miller, PJO, and Tyack, PL. "Experimental field studies to measure behavioral responses of cetaceans to sonar." Endangered Species Research 31 (December 6, 2016): 293-315.

Contact Information

Duke Univ Marine Lab, 135 Duke Marine Lab Rd
Beaufort, NC 28516


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1999)
B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University (1991)