My primary appointment is as a Research Scientist at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in the Marine Science and Conservation Division of the Nicholas School of the Environment. I am also appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Murdoch University in Western Australia and as Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
I received a BSc in marine biology from the University of Guelph, Canada and an MSc in Zoology from same institution. I then worked as a marine ecologist in the Non-Profit sector for 5 years before commencing my PhD program in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in 2000. After graduating from Duke in 2004, I pursued Post-Doctoral training at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). I was hired in 2005 to lead the newly formed cetacean research unit at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu HI. I returned to Duke in 2008 to work collaboratively with other scientists in the Marine Conservation Ecology group at the Duke Marine Lab. (Duke faculty website)
I am a broadly skilled biological oceanographer and marine conservation biologist. My research focuses on the foraging ecology and habitat needs of marine animals in relation to pressing conservation issues. I have active projects in the following areas: population assessments and foraging ecology of marine vertebrates, the design and utility of marine protected areas; the effects of climate variability and global change on marine animals and the sustainability of incidental mortality and directed harvests of marine animals. I am also involved in projects addressing the effects of anthropogenic sound on marine mammals and the suitable application of new technological approaches to marine ecology and conservation. I have experience working in a variety of marine ecosystems – from the highly productive waters of the California Current and Bay of Fundy, to the oligotrophic waters of the central Pacific. You can download my CV here: Johnston_CV_2012_QR
I am also a skilled educator at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and have considerable experience in both large and small classrooms, as well as in field-based learning situations. My objective as a university educator is to teach aspects of marine biology, ecology and conservation in an integrative manner – I do this by employing a diverse array of tools, techniques and case studies to help students learn both basic and advanced ecological principles in relation to current conservation issues.
I believe that integrative teaching involves incorporating techniques and disciplines that are most often found employed separately. For example, we can draw from the usually disparate fields of philosophy, oceanography and ecological theory to better assess and explain relationships amongst plants, animals (including humans) and the physical environment. I am well prepared for integrative teaching – my scientific approach often incorporates a variety of techniques to answer broad ecological questions about population dynamics, foraging behavior and habitat use. In this context, I often employ examples relating to marine megafauna – large invertebrates, pelagic fishes, seabirds, turtles and marine mammals. These compelling species act as natural hooks to gain the interest and maintain the attention of students, helping them learn and retain key concepts. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly embrace experiental learning opportunities – it has been my experience that students learn best by doing, and especially so in compelling settings.
As an educator, I’m amazed at how well (and frequently) students use their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets etc) to communicate and learn. This represents a significant opportunity for teachers – these devices can be tapped to provide content to students wherever and whenever the time is right and can facilitate learning in the classroom in more structured settings. To this end, I’ve started a collaborative project that is focusing on bringing the content of one of our courses into a mobile format. In particular, the project has developed an application for Apple’s iPad – Cachalot – that allow students to interact with all of the course content on their hand-held device. You can learn more about it on the Digital Seamonsters website.
Thorne, L. H., D. W. Johnston, D. L. Urban, J. Tyne, L. Bejder, R. W. Baird, S. Yin, S. H. Rickards, M. H. Deakos, J. R. Mobley, Jr., A. A. Pack, M. Chapla Hill. 2012. Predictive modeling of spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) resting habitat in the main Hawaiian Islands. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43167. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043167
Johnston, D. W., A. S. Friedlaender, A. J. Read and D. P. Nowacek. 2012. Initial density estimates of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the inshore waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula during the late autumn. Endangered Species Research. 18:63–71
Johnston, D. W., A. S. Friedlaender, M. Bowers and D. M. Lavigne. 2012. The effects of climate change on harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus). PLoS ONE. 7 (1) p. e29158 EP - doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029158
Nowacek, D.P., A.S. Friedlaender, P.N. Halpin, E.L. Hazen, D.W. Johnston, A.J. Read, B. Espinasse, M. Zhou, and Y. Zhu. 2011. Super-aggregations of krill and humpback whales in Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. PLoS ONE. 6(4): e19173
Forney, K. A., D .R. Kobayashi, D. W. Johnston, J. Marchetti, and M. M. Marsik. 2011. What’s the catch? Patterns of cetacean bycatch and depredation in Hawaii-based pelagic longline fisheries. Marine Ecology. 32(3): 380–391
Friedlaender, A. S., D. W. Johnston, W. R. Fraser, J. Burns, P. N. Halpin, D. P. Costa. 2011. Ecological niche modeling of sympatric krill predators around Marguerite Bay, Western Antarctic Peninsula. Deep Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. 58: 1729-1740
Hazen, E. L. and D. W. Johnston. 2010. Meridional complexity in the deep scattering layers and top predator distribution in the Central Equatorial Pacific. Fisheries Oceanography. 19(6), 427–43
Friedlaender, A. S., D. W. Johnston and P. N. Halpin. 2010. Effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation on sea ice breeding habitats of harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) across the North Atlantic. Progress in Oceanography – Climate Impacts on Oceanic Top Predators (CLIOTOP). 86(1): 261-26
Friedlaender, A. S., D. P. Nowacek, D. W. Johnston, A. J. Read, R. B. Tyson, L. E. Peavey, and E. M. Revelli. 2010. Multiple sightings of large groups of Arnoux’s beaked whales (Berardius arnouxii) in the Gerlache Strait, Antarctica. Marine Mammal Science. 26(1): 246-25
Leaper, R. , D. M. Lavigne, P. J. Corkeron and D. W. Johnston. 2010. Towards a precautionary approach to managing Canada’s commercial harp seal hunt. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 67: 316-3
Gales, N., D. Bowen, D. W. Johnston, K. Kovacs, C. Littnan, W. Perrin, J. Reynolds and P. Thompson. 2009. Guidelines for the Treatment of Marine Mammals in Field Research. Marine Mammal Science. 25 (3): 725-73
McDonald, M. A., J. A. Hildebrand, S. M. Wiggens, D. W. Johnston and J. J. Polovina. 2009. An acoustic survey of beaked whales at Cross Seamount near Hawaii. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 125 (2): 624-627.
Johnston, D. W., J. Robbins, M. E. Chapla, D. K. Mattila and K. R. Andrews. 2008. Diversity, habitat associations and stock structure of odontocete cetaceans in the waters of American Samoa, 2003-2006. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 10: 59-6
Johnston, D. W., M. A. McDonald, J. J. Polovina R. Domokos, S. Wiggens and J. A. Hildebrand. 2008. Temporal patterns in the acoustic signals of beaked whales at Cross Seamount. Biology Letters. 4: 208-211.
Johnston, D. W., M. E. Chapla, L. E. Williams and D. K. Mattila. 2007. Identification of humpback whale wintering habitat in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands using spatial habitat modeling. Endangered Species Research. 3: 249-25
Johnston, D. W. and A.J. Read. 2007. Flow-field observations of a tidally driven island wake used by marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Fisheries Oceanography. 16:422-435.
Johnston, D. W. 2012. Re-Imagining the Marine Science Textbook: Cachalot | Mobile Marine Megafauna. Duke Environment Magazine. Spring 2012.
Gales, N. N., D. W. Johnston, C. L. Littnan and I. Boyd. 2010. Ethics in Marine Mammal Research. Chapter 1 In (I. Boyd, D. Bowen and S. Iverson, [eds.]. Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation: A Handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford U.K.
Carretta,J. V., K. A. Forney, M. S. Lowry, J. Barlow, J. D. Baker, D. W. Johnston, B. Hanson, R. L. Brownell Jr., J. Robbins, D. K. Mattila, K. Ralls, M. M. Muto, D. Lynch, and L. Carswell. 2010. Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessments: 2009. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-453. U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Marine Fisheries Service. Southwest Fisheries Science Center. 336pp.
Carretta, J. V. , K. A. Forney, M. S. Lowry, J. Barlow, J. D. Baker, D. W. Johnston, B. Hanson, M. M. Muto, D. Lynch, and L. Carswell. 2009. Pacific Marine Mammal Stock Assessments: 2008. NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-434. U. S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Marine Fisheries Service. Southwest Fisheries Science Center. 317p
Chapla, M. E., D. W. Johnston and K. Urian. 2007. Pacific Islands Photo-Identification Network Workshop Report. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Administrative Report. H-07-02, 28p
Johnston, D. W. 2006. A hard days night: Spinner dolphins need their rest too. Ka Pili Kai. 28: 9-1
Reeves, R. R., A. J. Read and D. W. Johnston. 2006. Report: Workshop on Research Needs for the Conservation and Management of Cetaceans in the Pacific Islands Region. Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, PIFSC Special Publication, SP-06-00
Hannah, J. and D. W. Johnston. 2004. Whales of Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States. A Field Guide. International Marine Mammal Association Inc. Guelph, ON. 72p
Wells, P.G., P.D. Keizer, J. L. Martin, P. A. Yeats, K. M. Ellis and D. W. Johnston. 1996. The chemical environment in the Bay of Fundy. Pages 37-56 In J.A. Percy, P.G. Wells and A.J. Evans [eds.]. Bay of Fundy Issues: A scientific overview. Environment Canada – Atlantic Region Occasional Report No. 8.