As plant and animal diversity wanes, is microbial life changing too?

PHE Guest Investigator and microbiologist David Thaler has published the paper, “Is global microbial biodiversity increasing, decreasing, or staying the same?” in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.  The answer is, we do not know.

The paper arose from Zoom discussions PHE began holding every Tuesday and Thursday noon during COVID lockdown of our NYC group members with colleagues in California, Israel, Switzerland, and elsewhere.  Bravo to David for asking a bold question and putting it onto the research agenda.  Thanks to Gary Borisy (Forsyth Institute) and Jessica Mark Welch (Marine Biological Laboratory) for sharing images.  A Press Release from the journal summarize the paper.

The Guardian, Microbes are ‘unknown unknowns’ despite being vital to all life, says study (another excellent article from Guardian science reporters!)

Agencia EFE, Spain, Un estudio resalta la “profunda ignorancia” de la biodiversidad de microbiosAargauer Zeitung, Switzerland, Biologie – Gilt das Artensterben auch für die Mikroben?

IndoAsian News Service, India Is microbial life, including viruses, changing too?
COSMOS Magazine, Australia The great unknown of global microbial diversity

Mongabay, ‘Profound ignorance’: Microbes, a missing piece in the biodiversity puzzle by Ian Morse on 26 April 2021



2020 declared Year of Quiet Ocean – News from International Quiet Ocean Experiment

The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research has issued the 7th Newsletter chronicling the progress of the International Quiet Ocean Experiment, which helped spur this Press Release reporting on the progress, including the MANTA software and the data archive.

Some coverage:

The Guardian, United Kingdom, Pandemic made 2020 ‘the year of the quiet ocean’, say scientists especially good article!

Agence France Presse Lull in shipping activity gives scientists chance to listen to sounds of the ocean https://ca.news.yahoo.com/lull-shipping-activity-gives-scientists-042755282.html
German: Internationales Forscherteam untersucht Tierlaute im Ozean während Corona-Krise  https://de.nachrichten.yahoo.com/internationales-forscherteam-untersucht-tierlaute-ozean-214115152.html
French: Un réseau mondial d’écoute sur les océans apaisé par Covid https://yourtopia.fr/un-reseau-mondial-decoute-sur-les-oceans-apaise-par-covid-france-24/

BBC News Online, Ocean noise: Study to measure the oceans’ ‘year of quiet’ https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56676820
BBC World Service Radio, 1st story, with Ed Urban (here)

Agencia Efe,Científicos aprovechan la pandemia para hacer un mapa del sonido de los mares

Gizmodo, United States  International Project Will See How Quiet of Covid-19 Affected Oceans https://earther.gizmodo.com/international-project-will-see-how-the-quiet-of-covid-1-1846630821

IndoAsian News Service, India Amid slowdown, scientists assess changes in marine life behaviour  https://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a1148781.html

Down To Earth magazine, India What happened when the oceans went quiet during the pandemic? Scientists set to find out  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/what-happened-when-the-oceans-went-quiet-during-the-pandemic-scientists-set-to-find-out-76387

The National News, United Arab Emirates Oceans silenced by Covid to reveal impact of human activity on marine life https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/europe/oceans-silenced-by-covid-to-reveal-impact-of-human-activity-on-marine-life-1.1199684

COSMOS Magazine, Australia Year of the quiet ocean https://cosmosmagazine.com/earth/oceans/year-of-the-quiet-ocean/

Courthouse News Service, United States Emerging Ocean Listening Network Will Study Seas Uniquely Quieted by Covid https://www.courthousenews.com/emerging-ocean-listening-network-will-study-seas-uniquely-quieted-by-covid/

Heidi News, La pandémie accélère la recherche sur le bruit dans les oceans par Florent Hiard, French Switzerland

Inter Press Service Opinion Studying Marine Life’s Brief Break from Human Noise by Jesse Ausubel and Ed Urban

Baidu, People’s Republic of China, The “Year of Quiet Sea” created by COVID-19: How does the sound of the ocean environment change under the epidemic?

1-hour video about Ocean Decade

24 March 2021 Jesse Ausubel formed part of a lively 70-minute panel discussion on Oceans with

Ms. Maya Gabeira, Big Wave Surfer, 2X World Record Holder, Oceana Ambassador

Mr. Romain Troublé, Director-General, Tara Foundation

Mr. David Eades, Chief Presenter, BBC TV News, Moderator 1

Ms. Taylor Goelz, Program Manager, Shipping Decarbonization Initiative, Aspen Institute | Member, Ocean Decade Early Career Ocean Professional Informal Working Group, Moderator 2

The full 4’42” video of the UNESCO Forum on Biodiversity: On the road to Kunming is here on YouTube.

The Ocean session starts at 1:57 and lasts to 3:09. Jesse’s opening remarks (about better measurement of abundance of ocean life) start at 2:07 (3 minutes) and his pitch for soundscapes is at 2:41:35 (1.5 minutes).  The entire session is good listening (and some video too).

Great Global Fish Count

We post the concept paper for the Great Global Fish Count and the 5 slides Jesse Ausubel and Mark Stoeckle prepared for the Ocean Studies Board virtual meeting to discuss “ocean shots” for the new Ocean Decade. The video of Jesse’s 10-minute talk starts at 24’10” of the Feb 3 Ocean Decade Plenary 2 session of video showcase of the Ocean Decade: U.S. Launch Meeting February 3-4, 2021.

The USA Ocean Decade Ocean-Shots site is here.

Here is the list of 87 Ocean-Shot ideas.

 The journal of the Marine Technology Society will publish a special issue with short article on many of the ideas.

Retrospective on the Census of Marine Life

The Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL) hosted a virtual symposium entitled Observing Life in a Changing Ocean: Exploring a ‘Census of Marine Life’ Today, on January 27, 2021.

The Census of Marine Life was an international program of discovery of life in the ocean, from microbes to whales and from coral reefs to abyssal plains. The Census ran from 2000-2010 and was a model for building collaboration and a global baseline of knowledge of marine diversity, distribution, and abundance.  COL convened the symposium to highlight the need and generate excitement for a sustained, collaborative, and systematic program in marine biodiversity research and observation.  Jesse Ausubel gave an opening 25-minute retrospective on the program beginning 5 minutes 40 seconds into the video.