Blog

Quantifying forest change in the European Union

Iddo Wernick, our long-time collaborator Pekka Kauppi, and other forestry experts published Quantifying forest change in the European Union in Nature vol 592 pages E13–E14 (2021). The authors argue that net carbon stored in the EU continues to increase as forest volume accumulates faster than additions to (and fluctuations in) the annual harvest.

For some of our earlier forest work, see PNAS publishes Forests paper and Quandaries of forest area, volume, biomass, and carbon explored with the forest identity.

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



Big Russian popular review of Deep Biosphere

We just came across this 9 Dec 2019 beautifully illustrated review of the work of the Deep Carbon Observatory, especially its work on the deep biosphere, a subject in which Russian and Ukrainian scientists have made important contributions since Mendeleev. Jesse Ausubel is quoted near the end of the article.

How they live where almost nobody lives: the dark side of the biosphere Life exists at a depth of several kilometers, in the hot and oxygen-deprived bowels of the Earth – and thrives there, completely uninterested in anything that happens here, above.

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).

Recognizing Terry Collins and Dale Langford

With maximum appreciation for their contributions, we have included Terry Collins and Dale Langford in our list of PHE alumni and external affiliates.

Dale Langford has edited almost every publication of Jesse’s since the 1985 National Academy of Engineering Program Report. Dale edited many reports and books of the National Academies, many papers and reports of the Program for the Human Environment, and many reports of the Census of Marine Life, Deep Carbon Observatory, and other programs in which Jesse has played a role.

As reported in our 2013 blog here, Jesse began working with environment and science communications specialist Terry Collins in 2003. Since then, their joint efforts have grown from 38 collaborations to more than 60, as chronicled in Terry’s Jesse Ausubel Archive. The archive is a wonderful scientific biography of our interests, spanning marine biodiversity, DNA barcoding and eDNA, the Encyclopedia of Life, deep carbon, and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Dale and Terry have improved and multiplied the value of our work.

Play about the murder of Moritz Schlick

A pair of excellent books about the Vienna Circle of philosophers have recently appeared: Exact Thinking in Demented Times: The Vienna Circle and the Epic Quest for the Foundations of Science by Karl Sigmund (2017) and The Murder of Professor Schlick: The Rise and Fall of the Vienna Circle by David Edmonds (2020).

As an undergraduate, I took several philosophy courses and was especially taken with  Wittgenstein.  In the spring of 1972, a multi-talented astronomy graduate student, Joseph Timko, also keenly interested in philosophy, and I wrote and performed a short play about the murder of Moritz Schlick, The Best Picture.  Performing the role of Schlick, I was murdered each evening.  The play was performed again in 1975 in New York and on a few other occasions.

Working in Vienna during 1979-1982 at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, I was eager to learn more about the Vienna Circle.  Much curiosity then pertained to Vienna 1900 but little to Vienna between the wars. I attended the Kirchberg Wittgenstein symposium in 1981, where one felt stirrings of the revival now mature in the Sigmund and Edmonds books.  In honor of the Schlick revival, find posted a slightly revised 1980 version of The Best Picture, a melodrama in which Ludwig Wittgenstein, Private Investigator, made his stage debut in solving the Case of the Posthmous Positivist.

Jesse