The Nowicki Lab at Duke University



Books that Steve has written:

Searcy, W. A. & S. Nowicki. 2005. The Evolution of Animal Communication: Reliability and Deception in Signaling Systems. Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ
From the publisher: "Gull chicks beg for food from their parents. Peacocks spread their tails to attract potential mates. Meerkats alert family members of the approach of predators. But are these—and other animals—sometimes dishonest? That's what Bill Searcy and Steve Nowicki ask in The Evolution of Animal Communication.

"The book probes such phenomena as the begging of nesting birds, alarm calls in squirrels and primates, carotenoid coloration in fish and birds, the calls of frogs and toads, and weapon displays in crustaceans. Do these signals convey accurate information about the signaler, its future behavior, or its environment? Or do they mislead receivers in a way that benefits the signaler? Searcy and Nowicki take on these and other questions by developing clear definitions of key issues, by reviewing the most relevant empirical data and game theory models available, and by asking how well theory matches data. They find that animal communication is largely reliable—but that this basic reliability also allows the clever deceiver to flourish."

Nowicki, S. 2004. Biology: The Science of Life. The Teaching Company: Chantilly, VA
From the publisher: "'The 21st century will be the century of biological science, just as the 20th century was the century of physical science,' predicts Professor Stephen Nowicki, an award-winning teacher at Duke University who has specially adapted his acclaimed introductory biology course for The Teaching Company to bring you up to date on one of the most important fields of knowledge of our time.

"This intensive, 72-lecture course will give you the background and guidance to explore in depth the fundamental principles of how living things work—principles such as evolution by natural selection, the cellular structure of organisms, the DNA theory of inheritance, and other key ideas that will help you appreciate the marvelous diversity and complexity of life."

Nowicki, S. 2008, 2012, 2017. Biology. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Austin, TX
Somewhere around 2005, Steve Nowicki was encouraged to take the lead in authoring a high school biology textbook. This encouragement came from a Duke alum who was then a senior science editor at the company that wanted to publish a new and innovative text in this area, so how could Steve say no? Aptly named Biology and now in its third edition, this book has become one of the best-selling texts for 9th and 10th grade biology in the country.

Dean Nowicki's Convocation Speeches:

Between 2007 and 2018, Steve served as Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke. In that role he had the privilege of addressing the incoming class each year at the opening Convocation ceremony in Duke Chapel. Students and parents seemed to like these speeches, so here they are if you're interested:

Convocation 2017: "You Belong Here"

Convocation 2016: "Know Thy Selfie"

Convocation 2015: "Question Authority"

Convocation 2014: "Why Are You Here?"

Convocation 2013: "Pearls of Wisdom"

Convocation 2012: "Curiosity and Achievement"

Convocation 2011: "Look to Your Left, Look to Your Right (it's not what you think)"

Convocation 2010: "The Rewards of Meandering"

Convocation 2009: "Seek Unknown Treasures and Discover Yourself"

Convocation 2008: "The Dynamic State of the Body and the Mind"


Nowicki Lab
Department of Biology
Box 90338, Duke University
Durham, NC  27708-0338  USA
Lab phone: 919-684-6950