Biology of Marine Mammals
This lecture class introduces undergraduate and masters students to the biology of cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians and sea otters. It is taught in the fall term at the Duke University Marine Laboratory, with video-links to main campus in Durham. The course is divided into three sections: (1) adaptations to an aquatic existence; (2) behavior and ecology; and (3) conservation and management. The class is also offered as an intensive field course during the second summer term (usually taken in conjunction with Conservation Biology and Policy), when it is taught by Dave Johnston.
Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
Wendy Dow Piniak teaches this field course on the biology of sea turtles, covering their evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, life history and population dynamics; the class emphasizes the role of sea turtles in marine ecosystem structure and function. Basic ecological concepts are integrated into issues related to the conservation and management of endangered species, the contributions of technology to the study of migratory marine species, and the role of research in national and international law and policy. Undergraduate and masters students are able to interact directly with resource managers, community conservationists, fishermen and other stakeholders in Puerto Rico and gain first-hand experience with in-water assessment methods. You can read more about the course through the class blog.
Marine Conservation Biology
This intensive, experiential capstone field course is taught in the first block of the spring term. The class is open to graduate students (primarily second-year students in our Coastal Environmental Management program) and is taught entirely in Hawaii. Typically we spend four days on Oahu, meeting with managers, scientists and stakeholders before traveling to Midway Atoll, where we spend 10 days experiencing the challenges of managing the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of the world’s largest marine protected areas. We focus on the conservation of monk seals, seabirds and green turtles and also examine the threats posed by invasive species and marine debris. Learn more by reading our class blog and viewing student videos.
Current Topics in Marine Conservation
This is a required course for Ph.D. students in the Marine Science and Conservation Division that I co-teach with Xavier Basurto. The class is designed to introduce students working in the natural sciences to concepts, theory and literature from the social sciences and vice-versa. This term we are tackling the efficacy of marine reserves. Each week a pair of students (one from the natural and one from the social sciences) introduces a paper for discussion. We hope to produce a publishable manuscript that describes our survey across these disciplinary boundaries.