PhD Student Newsletter - Spring 2015

Grants and Awards
Notes from the Field
Teaching, Collaboration, and Community Engagement


Congratulations to the following students for successfully defending their PhD dissertations!

  • Dr. Meagan Dunphy-Daly - "A meta-analysis of the value of marine protected areas for pelagic apex predators​." Dr. Dunphy-Daly is now a Knauss Fellow in Marine Policy at NOAA's Office of Legislative Affairs in D.C.
  • Dr. Kenady Wilson - “Integrating Multiple Technologies to Understand the Foraging Behavior and Habitat Use of Monk Seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands.” Dr. Wilson is now a NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at NOAAs National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle.
  • Dr. Daniel Dunn - “On the dynamic management of marine resources”. Dr. Dunn is now a Research Scientist at the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University."

Grants and Awards

Haydee Dominguez Tejo was awarded a second Faculty for the Future Fellowship from the Schlumberger Foundation for academic year 2015-2016, to support her dissertation research on Antillean manatee distribution modeling and population status on Hispaniola Island.

Bradford Dubik received a James B. Duke International Research Travel Fellowship from the Duke Graduate School for 2015-2016.


Jamie Wagner:
Etnoyer PJ, Brennan ML, Finamore D, Hammond S, Vargas M, Janson X, Tuzun S, Wagner J, Ferraro D, Snyder W. 2015. Exploration and Mapping of the Deep Mesoamerican Reef. Oceanography, 28(1) supplement, 34-35.
Cormier M, Blake R, Coleman D, Guerrier K, Saintilus N, Wagner J, Auscavitch S. 2015. Exploration of the Windward Passage and Jamaica Channel: Tectonic Gateways to the Caribbean Sea. Oceanography, 28(1) supplement, 36-37.

Tara Essock-Burns:
Rittschof, D., Essock-Burns, T., Dickinson, G., Zmina, S. and N. Alberman. Natural glues and fouling management by interfering with glue curing. 2015. Sultan Qaboos University Journal of Agriculture and Marine Sciences. 14(2):301-307.
Tara Essock-Burns, Dasha Leary, Erik Soderblom, Beatriz Orihuela, Meredith Turner, Arthur Moseley, Christopher Spillmann, Kathryn Wahl, and Dan Rittschof. Evidence for Wound Healing Mechanisms in BarnaclesAmphibalanus (=Balanus) amphitrite: An Immune System Model. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. 2015 January 3-7; West Palm Beach, FL.

Daniel Dunn:
Lewison, R., A.J. Hobday, S. Maxwell, E. Hazen, J.R. Hartog, D.C. Dunn, D. Briscoe, S. Fossette, C.E. O’Keefe, M. Barnes, M. Abecassi, S. Bograd, N.D. Bethoney, H. Bailey, D. Wiley, S. Andrews, E. Howell, L. Hazen, L.B. Crowder. (in press) Dynamic Ocean Management:  Identifying the critical ingredients of dynamic approaches to ocean resource management. Bioscience. Available early online.


Shay Viehman gave an oral presentation on "Wave energy and substrate stability constrain coral reef recovery after vessel groundings" at the Benthic Ecology meeting in Quebec City, Canada in March.

Megumi Shimizu gave a talk on "Organic matter source change and increased input following ice shelf collapse in sediments in the Larsen A Embayment, Weddelle Sea" at Gordon Research Seminar Polar marine science, in Lucca Italy in March 2015

Joy Stanistreet gave a presentation on her dissertation research titled “Passive acoustic monitoring for beaked whales off North Carolina, USA” at the Watkins Memorial Marine Mammal Bioacoustics Symposium in New Bedford, MA (March 2015)

Heather Heenehan presented "Quiet Time for Spinner Dolphins: Diel Variation in the soundscape of resting bays in Hawaii" at the Watkins Memorial Marine Mammal Bioacoustics Symposium in New Bedford, MA and at the Women in Science and Engineering Symposium in Durham, NC.

Leslie Acton will be giving an oral presentation entitled "Shaping the Governance of Ocean Spaces: Global Politics of Marine Protected Areas at the World Parks Congress 2014" at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago, IL in April.  

Bradford Dubik gave a talk titled:  "White Spot and Watermen: Impacts of Epidemic Shrimp Disease on Producers in Aceh, Indonesia and North Carolina, USA" at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Chicago in April (2015).

Daniel Dunn co-organized the workshop “Contemporaneous vs. climatological variable use in habitat models” in Durham, NC. in December, 2014.

The 2nd Annual Duke Ecology Symposium was hosted by the Duke Marine Lab this April. The symposium was organized by PhD students in the University Program in Ecology, and Sarah Loftus was on this planning committee. Several Marine Lab PhD students and postdocs presented at the symposium. Tara Essock-Burns, Christopher Ward, Megumi Shimizu, Jerry Moxley, Jamie Wagner, Joy Stanistreet, Shay Viehman, and Qiang He gave oral presentations. Sarah Loftus and Charmaine Yung gave poster presentations.

Notes from the Field

Vivienne Foroughirad is currently in the field in Shark Bay, Western Australia, where she will spend five months collecting behavioral and genetic data on Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.

Joy Stanistreet recovered and re-deployed five acoustic recording units off Cape Hatteras, NC, as part of a collaborative monitoring project focused on North Atlantic right whales. Several months of acoustic data were collected, and will be analyzed by a summer REU student for the occurrence of right whale calls.

Joy Stanistreet spent 3 days at sea along with Read lab members Zach Swaim and Heather Foley, to retrieve and deploy acoustic recording instruments off Cape Hatteras NC, and Norfolk Canyon, VA. Nearly 17 months of continuous passive acoustic recordings were collected, which will provide data for Joy’s PhD research on sperm whales and beaked whales, as well as contribute to broader marine species monitoring efforts conducted by Duke and other institutions in this region.

Jamie Wagner participated in two deep-sea research cruises.  One was on the R/V Atlantis with deep-submergence vehicle Alvin and autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry, investigating methane seep fauna in the Gulf of Mexico.  The second was with the E/V Nautilus and the remotely operated vehicle Hercules, looking at the biology and geology of the fault lines, slopes, and reefs near Jamaica and Haiti.

Dave Haas collaborated with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Cascadia Research Collective, and Bio-waves, Inc., in February and March of 2015, investigating endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale winter habitat use aboard the 2015 PODS (Pacific Orcinus Distribution Survey) Cruise. The 21 day cruise ranged along the coasts of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, resulted in collection of dozens of SRKW prey, fecal and mucus samples, over 380 hours of high-quality acoustic recordings of SRKWs and other cetacean species, over 240 hours of cetacean visual observations, and one great outreach video documenting all the science performed aboard the cruise.

Teaching, Collaboration, and Community Engagement

Julia Burrows wrote a short article about her research on humpback whale foraging behavior for Imagine, a magazine encouraging gifted teens to explore ideas and careers in the sciences, arts, and humanities.  The article was published in the January/February 2015 issue, which was Marine Science focused.

Jamie Wagner travel to Papua New Guinea to teach a one-week course about marine invertebrates and ecology to a group of 20 undergraduates and students from PNG, Tonga, and Fiji.  The course focused on giving the students hands-on experiences with field collection, dissections, article reading, and presentations.

Jamie Wagner participated in the Pine Knoll Shores 2015 Sciren event, with teachers coming to learn about researcher's lesson plans.

Heather Heenehan was invited to give a seminar at Gettysburg University as part of the Biology Department Seminar Series.

Heather Heenehan co-instructed the Durham class Marine Megafauna.

Heather Heenehan participated for the third year in the NC Science Festival's Invite a Scientist program and visited the 6th grade class of Beaufort Middle School.

Sarah Loftus created and led a workshop for middle school girls at the annual FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science) Capstone event at Duke University.