Duke University Marine Lab students launch podcast

A new podcast series from Duke University Marine Lab students, faculty and staff covers a variety of facets of marine science. (Stephanie Hillsgrove graphic)

BEAUFORT — A student-led podcast series that began late this summer in Carteret County looks promising.

Several Duke University Marine Lab Ph.D. students began the podcast, titled Seas the Day and designed to cover a variety of topics related to marine science, according to a Sept. 16 press release from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Ph.D. student Rafella Lobo, who is leading the podcast project, said in an email Monday to the News-Times that, so far, listeners seem excited.

“We haven’t gone viral (yet!), but we’ve received very positive feedback from various people in our community who have heard our episodes,” Ms. Lobo said. “We’ve also been approached by students with ideas for future episodes, which has been very exciting.”

She said while it’s too early to tell how popular the podcast will be in the long term, she and her colleagues are looking into management options to track things like downloads, followers and social media messages.

“So far, we’ve released our intro episodes and two full episodes,” Ms. Lobo said. “The next one is scheduled to go up on (Wednesday) Oct. 7. We’ll release a new episode very first and third Wednesday of the month, on various series.”

Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Affairs and Policy Dr. Lisa Campbell said she also thinks the project has been going well so far.

“Like many good things at the marine lab, this is a collaboration among faculty, staff and students,” she said. “Working with the team on something outside of all our normal jobs has been fun. We’re learning a lot quickly. I think it’s too early to know just how successful we’ll be in terms of numbers of listeners, but I think there are different ways to think about success.”

Ms. Lobo said the idea was to come up with an “umbrella podcast” with several series-within-series to talk about various marine science efforts in the community. One example is the classwork of Dr. Campbell’s Conservation and Development class.

“For the past two years, Lisa’s Conservation & Development class has produced podcast episodes as their final assignment,” said Ms. Lobo. “We’re excited to finally see those episodes being published; those episodes are going out as a ‘series’ of the same name.”

Dr. Campbell said when she started having her students create podcasts, she wanted to think not only about how new technology influences teaching, but also student learning.

“I was interested in exploring how universities and researchers can connect with broader public audiences,” she said. “I was really impressed by what students were able to accomplish with their podcasts in a short amount of time, and I’m glad that we finally have a podcast up and running to share them publicly.” 

Other podcast series planned under the Seas the Day umbrella include Marine Mammal Pod, a series from the students of marine mammal biology and conservation instructor Dr. Reny Tyson. Two other planned series are PhDeep, which will explore the lives of Ph.D. students at the lab, and Lab Notes, which will feature one-off episodes for anyone at DUML who has an idea for an episode but isn’t looking to become a full-time contributor.

Ms. Lobo said their goal is to reach the scientific community and those outside academia.

“Being far away from main campus, we have a strong sense of community here,” Ms. Lobo said, “and we want to explore not just scientific topics, but how those topics interact with our community and how the community shapes the lives of the researchers conducting such science. We hope to explore various topics, including science communication and outreach and to de-mystify the academic experience, hopefully inspiring younger kids and prospective students to consider careers in science and conservation as well.”

As of Monday, Ms. Lobo and her colleagues have planned 24 episodes for Seas the Day, most of which she said are complete and should give the production team time to produce new content.

 “We intend to continue with the podcast for as long as we have interest in and ability to generate episodes on a regular basis,” Ms. Lobo said.

Seas The Day is available on Apple Podcasts. More information is available on the podcast’s website, sites.nicholas.duke.edu/seastheday/, and on its Twitter account, twitter.com/SeasTheDayPod.

 

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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