Weblog

My Last Day

These last couple of weeks have gone by very fast. My research has been wrapping up. I have finished the data analysis on the results of the seal counts and am now working on putting together the paper. There will be two research papers as a result of my research. The first on is about

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Opening a small UAS facility here at Duke

The last couple of days I had the opportunity to attend a workshop to gauge the interest, questions, concerns and ideas about building a small UAS facility here at Duke.  There were representatives from government agencies both federal and state, academia, and commerce. The use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has exploded over the last

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Humpback whale foraging visualization video online!

We are excited to share with you below our new open access resource for teaching to help communicate science through data visualization.  Kaitlin Bonaro, a visiting undergraduate student at the Duke University Marine Lab, created this video as her independent study project this past spring in the Johnston Lab.  With the help of Dave Johnston

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The New Odyssey

Protocol for using iTag This week, I finished tagging the images taken by the eBee using iTag. The next step was to write a protocol for taking the photographs and turning them into data so others can do it as well.  It is pretty exciting to be doing this because I was the first person

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Grey Seals and Drones

Grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) are found on both shores of the North Atlantic. They feed a variety of fish, mostly benthic or demersal species. During the winter months, female grey seals in Nova Scotia haul out on beaches such as Hay and Saddle Islands to start pupping. Females usually give birth about a day after coming

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I didn’t crash it!!

This week had a lot going on. While continuing to work on the acoustic research paper, work began on the population counts of grey seals on Hay and Saddle Island. I am utilizing a program called iTag to count the adult grey seals and the pups. This program allows me to place a marker on

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Summer Research with Drones

First off, a little bit about me: My name is Lauren Arona. I am a rising senior at Wittenberg University majoring in biology and minoring in marine science. I am the president of the Marine Science Club, active in the Outdoors Club and a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. This summer I have the

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The COVE opens!

I’m happy to announce that we have now opened a new visualization facility for our research group – the Coastal and Ocean Visualization Environment. The details on the facility are here. This system is primarily designed to help visualize and analyze the large geospatial datasets we generate through telemetry projects, but also useful for other

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Sound in the Sea Day Success

On, April 17th, 164 Morehead City Middle School 6th grade students and their teachers and chaperones descended on the Duke Marine Lab for a day of learning about Sound in the Sea. The motivation behind Sound in the Sea Day was to give students outside the classroom experiences that connect to inside the classroom concepts,

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Megafauna MOOC Concludes

Happy to report that I survived the first running of my Coursera MOOC: Marine Megafauna | An Introduction to Marine Science and Conservation. The course finished officially on April 6 with having 14,221 total learners signed up. Of these over 8000 watched lectures and over 4000 submitted quizzes and writing assignments. At the end of the class

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3 Women Changing the World Through Technology

On March 6, 2014, I was extremely honored to be called one of “3 Women Changing the World through Technology” by Skype in association with International Women’s Day. Tim Lucas wrote in a news release for Duke University Nicholas School News , “Marine Lab PhD student Heather Heenehan has been honored as one of three

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New paper on Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin Abundance

I’m happy to announce the publication of the first quantitative abundance estimate for spinner dolphins on the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island. This work, led by Julian Tyne and part of the joint Duke/Murdoch SAPPHIRE project provides managers much needed information for managing human effects on this species in Hawaii. This newly identified stock of

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Coastal Walkabout citizen science framework is out of the gates!

Yesterday we launched Coastal Walkabout, a new open access citizen science initiative which utilises smart phone technology and social media to engage and motivate local communities to gather scientific observations within coastal and estuarine environments in Western Australia. This projects sits at the intersection of 3 of the things I hold dear: technology, open access

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New Article in Eos – Smartphones and Geoscience Education

[photo size=’medium’ align=’right’ title=’Heather Heenehan records a marine species sighting on her iPhone’ icon=’zoom’ lightbox=’image’ link=’http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2013/11/2013-11-05-DWJ-IMG_1112.jpg’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2013/11/2013-11-05-DWJ-IMG_1112.jpg[/photo] As we are approaching the launch of the Coastal Walkabout citizen science network in Western Australia with the MUCRU folks, Marine Ventures and Gaia Resources, I’d like to point out a new feature article published today in Eos (the weekly magazine of geophysics published

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$1500 outreach grant awarded to Superpod members

Earlier this fall the Duke Center for Science Education announced a small grant ($500-$1500) competition for student teams to work on hands-on activities for 4th through 10th graders.  Joy Stanistreet (PhD student), Sean Stanton (MEM Student) and I along with our faculty mentor Dr. David Johnston got together with local teacher Mrs. Jennifer Coggins from

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Apps, Articles and the Flexibility of the Nicholas School of the Environment

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Johnston Lab, with the ‘publication’ of two products that have arisen from student projects in the Nicholas School’s Masters of Environmental Management Program. These two products (described in greater detail below) are at nearly opposite ends of the publication spectrum – one is a scientific

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Humpback whale research in Southeast Alaska

[photo size=’big’ align=’right’ title=’Feeding humpbacks. Photo: Ari Friedlaender, NMFS permit #14122′]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2013/05/ASF_1981.jpg[/photo] We just returned from an amazingly successful field season tagging humpback whales and mapping their prey in the waters of Southeast Alaska.  We left from Sitka, AK on 16 April 2013 aboard an 80′ Yacht, the Northern Song (http://www.yachtalaska.com/pages/yacht.html) led by an experienced captain

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“Holy Humpback” of a Day!

At this moment three quarters of “The Spinnerettes” are in Kona, Hawai’i assisting with fieldwork as a part of the Spinner Dolphin Acoustics and Population Parameters Research (SAPPHIRE) Project. The project started in the summer of 2010 to study the spinner dolphins using a suite of techniques including photo-identification, focal follows and behavioral sampling, acoustics

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Palmer Long-term Ecological Research Program: Rise of the Megafauna

Zach Swaim and I have just returned from a 6-week excursion to the deep south, to further incorporate and expand marine mammals studies into the epic Palmer Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) Program during its annual cruise along the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Through a combination of visual surveys, biopsy sampling and opportunistic acoustic recordings, my overarching

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Two Johnston Lab projects featured in latest Duke Environment Magazine

[photo size=’small’ align=’right’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2011/02/NtN_story_spinners.jpg[/photo]Just a brief update to point people towards a couple of features in the Nicholas School Magazine – Duke Environment. These stories cover two recent papers stemming from long-term collaborative projects in the Johnston lab. The first is coverage of our recent paper in PLoS ONE that addresses habitat for resting spinner dolphins

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iSeal checks in from Monomoy, Cape Cod

On September 15, 2012, a grey seal – named Bronx – was released from West Dennis Beach on Cape Cod with a tag on it’s back. After about 10 days cruising along the shores of Cape Cod, the seal hauled out between Chatham and Monomoy and delivered the first bundles of information about it’s movements

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All bays are not created equal: Predicting spinner dolphin resting habitat

Coastal spinner dolphins in Hawaii, and elsewhere in the world, rely on sheltered bays for rest. These inshore locations provide an opportunity for dolphins to recover energetically and cognitively during daylight hours after extended nighttime foraging bouts, while minimizing predation risk. This behavioral trait often beings them into close contact with humans involved in dolphin-based

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New paper on humpback whale densities

We’ve just got a new paper published in Endangered Species Research that provides the first estimates of humpback whale density in the late fall/early winter in the waters of the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). This work was conducted as part of the NSF-funded MISHAP project (PIs Nowacek and Friedlaender). The paper is available here:http://www.int-res.com/articles/esr_oa/n018p063.pdf [photo

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Exmouth, across the Pilbara to Broome

[photo size=’small’ align=’right’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/05/dugongfeature.jpg[/photo]We’ve made some tracks on this trip so far – after leaving Perth we flew to Exmouth to see the whale shark festival and do some aerial survey work, drove down to Coral Bay to meet with Frazer McGregor and his mantas, and then motored back to Exmouth for a boat trip out

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Going Digital: Nature.com on new forms of textbooks

[photo size=’small’ align=’right’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/07/cachaloticon.jpg[/photo]There is a great news story on Nature.com today, in their Careers section, that helps describe the evolving landscape of digital textbooks. Nature is in the game big-time, after having released their Principles of Biology textbook, an online and interactive offering that is accessed via a subscription. The author of the article, Roberta

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The last great marine wilderness?

In about a week, we will be embarking on a project along the coast of Northwestern Australia, one of the last great marine wilderness regions on earth. This remote location spans over 20 degrees of latitude and hosts organisms that represent some of the most primitive (e.g. Stromatolites) to the most derived (e.g. whale sharks)

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Ice seals and Cachalot in Spring 2012 Duke Environment

[photo size=’small’ align=’right’ link=’http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/04/DEimage_preview.jpg’ icon=’zoom’ lightbox=’image’ ]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/04/DEimage_preview.jpg[/photo]The Spring 2012 issue of Duke Environment Magazine is out, and there are two articles that cover work done in the Johnston Lab. The first is the lead story in the research section portion of the magazine (called the Log), and is a recap of the work we published

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Scientists with Stories – Workshops and Small Grants

Here’s an update on the Scientists with Stories Project, (SwS) -a collaboration to create intensive training workshops and professional exhibition opportunities for PhD students affiliated with the Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML) and the UNCʼs Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). Applications are now available for the SwS digital media workshop and for small grants for media projects available

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Learning by Doing – Ben Soltoff on Duke beyond Duke

[photo size=’medium’ title=’This is Ben!’ align=”right” icon=”zoom” link=’http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/04/benSoltoff.jpg’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/04/benSoltoff.jpg[/photo] My marine megafauna class is again coming to a close. This class is a joy to teach, as we introduce students to many aspects of marine science and conservation through compelling examples of big ocean creatures. Part of the joy of this class comes from the field

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Cachalot featured in Scientific American

I’m really excited about where things are going with Cachalot, our digital textbook for Marine Megafauna here at Duke. This project has grown out of an incredible effort of students and colleagues who all have contributed so much. This month Cachalot is featured in a story about novel digital textbooks Scientific American, available in the

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Antarctic Alumni Trip 2012

I’ve just returned from an extended trip that included a 10 day trip to the Western Antarctic Peninsula region with a group of fantastic Duke Alumni. Ari Friedlaender and I hosted this group of adventurers, providing them some background on the location, it’s ecology and the research our group is conducting down there. The trip

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Cachalot at Science Online 2012

[photo size=’small’ align=’right’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2011/10/cachalotfeature.png[/photo]I’m just back from the Science Online 2012 conference held at NC State during last Thursday through Saturday and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m worn out. The pace of the conference surpasses any concept of frenetic behavior, and I was amazed at how most of the seasoned ‘Scio’ people could

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Harp seals and ice: Media and hype

[photo size=’medium’ align=’right’]http://superpod.ml.duke.edu/johnston/files/2012/01/Seal-26th007.jpg[/photo]It’s been 13 days since our paper about changing sea ice conditions in breeding regions of harp seals was published in PLoS ONE. It has been incredibly interesting to watch the story propagate through the worlds media channels, both traditional and online. As a scientist, I’m increasingly interested in how science is portrayed to

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Harp seals on thin ice…

Today we published a paper on the effects of climate change on pagophilic seals in the North Atlantic in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The paper is available to everyone, free of charge here: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0029158 This paper is the third in a series of studies published by my lab that examine the effects of climate

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