Duke Immerse: 

A signature education initiative of Duke University

Students collecting shells & samples along the NC shoreline

Oceans & Health

Fall 2019

Oceans, Human & Environmental Health

Investigating interactions between human and environmental health at the Duke Marine Lab and Duke-Kunshan University.  

Oceans, Human and Environmental Health embraces the idea that the health of animals, people, and the environment are connected. This Duke Immerse program will focus on human interactions with the ocean and study how those interactions in turn affect human health and food security, as well as the ecosystem services and critical habitat the marine environment provides.  

This immersive semester-long experience teaches students the fundamentals of evaluating the health of the natural environment and will include measuring environmental factors and organismal biomarkers that serve as health indicators (e.g. chlorophyll a, nutrients, marine biodiversity, fecal coliforms, pollutants, toxicological biomarkers). In addition to developing a scientific understanding of human and environmental health, this semester will expand students’ understanding of human well-being, health, environmental justice, access to resources, and environmental policy. 

This semester will be divided into three main parts: 

  1. North Carolina field experiences and laboratory exercises, contextualizing the process of measuring environmental health. Students will engage with the North Carolina Coastal Federation and tour restored wetlands. 

  2. A two-week trip to China to compare and contrast the universal challenges to environmental health and the unique issues specific to the United States and China.  

  3. Faculty-guided team projects. Possible topics include: marine mammals as integrators of human and environmental health, the role of non-governmental organizations in setting environmental policy, or environmental impacts of microplastics in the oceans.  

Prerequisite: Writing 101

Recommended coursework: Intro to Biology, Intro to Chemistry

Program registration: Registration is open for Fall 2019! Download the registration form and email your completed form to Dr. Dana Hunt, dana.hunt@duke.edu and Duke Marine Lab Assistant Director, Katie Wood (katie.wood@duke.edu). 

All students who are interested, no matter their documentation status, are encouraged to apply. Accommodations and opportunities will be made for students who are unable to travel to China due to visa issues. 

Course fee: $1,000; Duke provides additional grant aid to cover the cost of any course fee for all students receiving financial aid. The course fee is in addition to tuition, room and board. Contact Duke's Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support (finaid@duke.edu) for more information.

Lead Faculty

Dana Hunt
Assistant Professor of Microbial Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment & Duke Marine Lab
P. Lee Ferguson
Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering, Nicholas School of the Environment & Chemistry
Grant Murray
Associate Professor of Marine Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment & Duke Marine Lab
Dan Rittschof
Norm L. Christensen Professor of Environmental Science, Nicholas School of the Environment, Biology & Duke Marine Lab

Contact Professor Dana Hunt (dana.hunt@duke.edu) or Duke Marine Lab Assistant Director, Katie Wood (katie.wood@duke.edu).


Number Title Crosslistings Notes
Varies by Dept. Independent Study Fall 2019
BIO 373LA-02 LAB (4168) Sensory Physiology and Behavior of Marine Animals NS, R, W ENVIRON 373LA-02 LAB (4256), NEUROSCI 381LA-02 LAB (4255) Fall 2019
ENVIRON 308A-01 LEC (6829) Oceans, Human and Environmental Health CCI, NS, STS GLHLTH 308A-01 LEC (8176), BIO 308A-01 LEC (8177) Fall 2019
ENVIRON 390SA-01 SEM (11106) Special Topics: Coastal and Marine Pollution Fall 2019