DURHAM, N.C. – More than 75% of the world’s surface is covered by oceans. A new podcast series led by students at the Duke University Marine Lab aims to introduce landlubbers to the mysterious, majestic and increasingly threatened world beneath the waves and the people who are working to protect it.
The students spearheading the series, which is called “Seas the Day,” plan to produce 24 podcasts this year, covering a range of topics from artificial islands to whaling.
Some podcasts will focus on species and issues; others will provide an inside look at what it’s like to study, live and do research at the Marine Lab.
The idea is to help increase public awareness of marine science and conservation, and, along the way, alert students who are not yet members of the Marine Lab community about the amazing research, outreach and learning opportunities that await them there.
“Podcasts are a smart way to reach a wider audience today because they fit busy lifestyles – you can listen and learn about a topic while exercising, cooking or doing other things. That’s really valuable, especially in these crazy times,” said Rafaella Lobo, a PhD student who is coordinating the project with support from a team of faculty, staff and fellow students.
Because of the broad scope of topics to be covered, the podcasts are organized into three separate series, each with a distinct focus.
The “Conservation and Development” series features issues-oriented podcasts produced by students in faculty member Lisa Campbell’s course of the same name. They examine conflicts that arise when the dual goals of conserving the environment and enhancing the well-being of people who depend on its resources become misaligned. Topics will include ecotourism, aquaculture, coastal sport hunting and marine plastics pollution.
A second series, “Marine Mammal Pod,” produced by students in a Marine Mammal Conservation course taught by 2014 PhD alumna Reny Tyson Moore, aims to shed light on iconic marine species and the threats they face, such as the near-extinction of the vaquita, or the effects of underwater noise pollution on blue whales.
A third series, called “PhDeep,” features podcasts that provide a look at what it’s really like to be a doctoral student.
“Bringing this project to life has given us a real sense of purpose,” Lobo said. “If we can inform and inspire others to ‘Seas the Day,’ too – that would be incredibly rewarding.”
Joining Lobo on the podcast production team are Lisa Campbell, Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Affairs & Policy; Stephanie Hillsgrove, assistant to the Marine Lab director; Janil Miller, librarian for marine science; and Brandon Gertz, a second-year Master of Environmental Management student with a concentration in Coastal Environmental Management.
Seas the Day’s theme song, “Oyster Waltz,” was composed by PhD student Joe Morton. Hillsgrove designed its logo and artwork. Jeff Priddy, manager and senior systems analyst at the Marine Lab, provides IT support. Jill Powell, the Nicholas School’s digital content analyst, helped Lobo and her team get the series’ website up and running.