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Marine Science and Conservation

College or University: Duke University Nicholas School Marine Laboratory

Type of degree: Ph.D.

Brief overview of program: The Marine Laboratory of Duke University, located on Pivers Island in the historic town of Beaufort, North Carolina, is a 15-acre campus with research laboratories, classroom buildings, dormitories, a dining hall, and boats. It shares the Island with the NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, and, together with the nearby marine laboratories of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, is part of a vibrant and expanding community of researchers and students. The situation of the Duke Marine Lab provides easy access to marine habitats, including coastal settings with contrasting degrees of development. The Rachel Carson National Estuarine Research Reserve and undeveloped Outerbanks stretch to the east of Pivers Island, to the west is Bogue Banks, a spit of developed land. The shallow waters of the Pamlico, Albemarle, Bogue, and other Sounds are rich with estuarine life and fringed by expansive salt marshes. The Gulf Stream flows close-by off shore; deepwater coral reefs and methane hydrate seeps are located within a 12-h transit by boat.

Website: Click here for program website

Number of students enrolled in 2007: Approx

For the students that enter the workforce, what are the most common occupations that they pursue with this degree or certificate? Research scientists, teaching faculty, consultants.

Program of Study:

Description of Facilities: CAMPUS HIGHLIGHTS The Marine Lab campus includes historic classrooms ideally suited for study of marine organisms and a new state-of-the-art teaching facility, the Marguerite Kent Repass Ocean Conservation Center. The Repass Center is Duke’s ‘greenest’ building, with geothermal pumps for heating and cooling, solar panels for hot water, and photovoltaic rooftop panels to convert sunlight into electricity. The center of campus activity at noon is the Dining Hall, where faculty and students meet and mix during the lunch hour. Outdoor and indoor commons areas with stunning views of the water, the picturesque waterfront of Beaufort, and the Rachel Carson reserve are favorite locales for coffee and doughnuts, receptions, and other formal and informal activities. A Student Center offers exercise machines, billiards, and cable television. There are library and computer facilities within a 1-minute stroll of any location on the Island; wireless computing is possible nearly everywhere. Street basketball, volleyball, croquet, canoeing, sunbathing and swimming are favorite diversions from studies.

Program Faculty: Year-round faculty at the Marine Lab are in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation, are engaged in research, education, and service to understand marine systems, including the human component, and to develop approaches for marine conservation and restoration. Faculty research interests include marine biology, physiology, biochemistry, conservation biology and genetics, ecology, marine affairs and policy, and biological oceanography. Study organisms include dolphins and porpoises, sea turtles, blue crabs, and organisms living at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps.

Student Support: Financial support is available for stipends, tuition and fees. For further information, contact Dr. Andrew Read, Director of Graduate Studies (

Program Point of Contact: Cynthia Peters


Department: Director, Duke University Marine Lab

Institution address: 135 Duke Marine Lab Road
                             Beaufort,,NC 28516-972

Phone: (252) 504-7655


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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .