The Monmouth University-Rockefeller University Marine Science and Policy Initiative (MURU) will be hosting the ‘National Conference on Marine and Environmental eDNA‘ to help accelerate marine environmental DNA science and applications by bringing together researchers, government agencies, and private foundations. Major themes will include Technology development, Bioinformatics, and eDNA biology.
The conference will held Thursday-Friday, November 29-30, 2018 at The Rockefeller University, New York, NY
The USA Strategy Group for the International Quiet Ocean Experiment held its 4th annual meeting 28-30 August at the Marine Policy Center of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where Jesse Ausubel works each July-August. We focused on opportunities to speed learning with passive acoustics in the Gulf of Mexico. Attendees were Dave Bradley, Paul Gaffney, Cynthia Pyc, Jennifer Miksis-Olds, Kelly Oskvig, Ruth Perry, Jon White, George Frisk, Peter Tyack, Jesse Ausubel, Ed Urban, and Alan Curry, as well as Dick Pittenger (not in photo). We enjoyed a tour of Ray Dalio’s Exploration Vessel Alucia which was docked at WHOI.
Our beloved friend and colleague Rodney Nichols passed away on 30 August 2018 in New York City. Rod introduced Jesse Ausubel and Doris Manville, who have now worked together in the Program for the Human Environment for more than 25 years. Numerous interests, programs, and organizations united us, including scientific cooperation between nations in conflict and The Rockefeller University itself. Here are notices in the 2 September New York Times from Rod’s family and from The Rockefeller University. We will miss Rod greatly.
We listened again to Look to the Sea, the catchy song that Maryann Camilleri, Jerry Harrison, David Dennison, David Hardin, and others created for the Census of Marine Life in 2010. The song, video and its creators are explained at
Abstract In the 19th century humans knew little about the oceans, but other forms of life knew a lot. Our job the past 135 years has been to catch up and surpass other forms of life in knowledge of the oceans. The advance of observation through science and technology, including new carriers and processors of information, has vastly expanded the oceans knowable to humans beyond what a sailor’s five senses could directly provide. By infiltrating the ocean with informationally connected sensors, humans are becoming the top experts on the oceans in the 21st century.
While the opening sentence suggests that a handheld barcoding device already exists, such a convenient device remains a few years away, although the process of obtaining barcodes is now standardized, routine, and quick.
The fourth paragraph inquires about diversity increasing with time. Diversity does increase with time. What the paper shows is that while time matters, the population size achieved over the interval of time does not matter. For precise formulations, see the paper and press release.
We (Mark Stoeckle and Jesse Ausubel) post new results from water sampling in October 2017 for eDNA on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We tested for freshwater fish (light green rows), saltwater fish (blue rows), and other vertebrates (taupe rows). We tested in four more locations, Upper Lagoon Pond (Oak Bluffs), Mill Brook just below Mill Pond (West Tisbury), Old Millpond (West Tisbury), and Priester’s Pond (North Tisbury). Priester’s Pond is about two miles north of Mill Pond and feeds into it. We compared these four locations to two places we tested in 2016, Look’s Pond (freshwater, West Tisbury) and Tisbury Great Pond (saltwater) into which it feeds.
In each case, we sieved DNA from about a cup of water scooped within reach of the shore. The numbers in the columns are the number of DNA “reads” obtained from each sample for each species. One can think of the number of reads or fragments of DNA as indicative of the abundance of DNA of that species and probably indicative of the abundance of the species itself, although different species of animals shed DNA at different rates.
The first two columns on the left show the results from 2016, for example, lots of American eel DNA in Look’s Pond. In 2017 the Bella Bennett of the Martha’s Vineyard Times covered our initial findings about eDNA on the Island: https://www.mvtimes.com/2017/08/02/fishing-for-dna/
We found some cool things in the new locations. For example, Mill Pond has DNA of river otters, which are hard critters to see. The Mill Brook, Millpond, and Priester’s Pond all have muskrat DNA, and all abound in frog DNA. DNA from all the fish in Priester’s Pond also occurs downstream in Millpond but Millpond has pickerel and eel DNA absent from Priester’s. The brook has DNA for small stream species such as darters and killifish but not for brown bullhead (similar to catfish) or pickerel, which may need the pond habitat.