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26 April 2018

 Lifewatch has named Jesse Ausubel’s ‘terrible claw’ lobster as one of the ten astounding species of the last decade (2007-2017).  Hooray for Dinochelus ausubeli! Thanks to the colleagues who made this happen.

Ten astounding marine species of the last decade (2007-2017)

  • Deep-sea lyre sponge – Chondrocladia lyra
  • Palauan primitive cave eel – Protanguilla palau 
  • Deep-sea acochlidiacean slug – Bathyhedyle boucheti  
  • Tree syllid worm – Ramisyllis multicaudata 
  • Starry sea wanderer jelly – Marivagia stellata  
  • The Hoff crab – Kiwa tyleri 
  • Squidworm – Teuthidodrilus samae 
  • Jesse Ausubel’s ‘terrible claw’ lobster – Dinochelus ausubeli  
  • The ‘living fossil’ octocoral – Nanipora kamurai 
  • Scaly-foot snail – Chrysomallon squamiferum

Posted at 10:04 am in News

26 April 2018

Our beloved geographer colleague and friend Robert Kates passed away 21 April 2018 at the age of 89.  Jesse met Bob in 1978 during preparations for the first UN World Climate Conference and they work closely together on studies of the impacts of climate variability and change for the next 20 years.  Together they conceived and led the climate project of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) during the early 1980s, much of which was reported in RW Kates, JH Ausubel, M Berberian (eds), Climate Impact Assessment, SCOPE 27, Chichester: Wiley, 625pp., 1985.  Bob also contributed an excellent chapter to Daedalus 125(3), 1996, The Liberation of the Environment, “Population, Technology, and the Human Environment: A Thread through Time,” pp. 43-72, edited by Jesse.

Environment reporter Andy Revkin offers sound and sensitive thoughts and links to some of Bob’s late work.

We look forward to a seminar sure to be organized to celebrate his wonderful work and humanity.

Posted at 07:04 am in News

3 April 2018

We post ‘The Potato and the Prius,’ the January 2018 keynote address by Jesse Ausubel to the Potato Business Summit of the United Potato Growers of America.

Posted at 08:04 am in News

22 March 2018

The Task Force on Ocean Biological Observations of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) has completed its Report.  Jesse Ausubel served on the Task Force, whose report explores new genomic, acoustic, and optical approaches, and their synergies, especially in relation to the deep ocean, and some organizational strategies to speed progress.

“The oceanographic community is beginning to develop sensors, instruments, platforms and systems that will eventually make large scale and long-term ocean biological observation possible. There are developments in imaging, acoustic measurement and genomic sensing that show great promise for the future. Each development is in a different stage of maturity and there is great enthusiasm within the communities for investment in these capabilities. But we see no organization that is consistently fostering these capabilities. We believe that POGO has the long-term perspective, the ocean observation focus, the international scope, and the organizational convening power to take on a focus on ocean biological observation..”

Posted at 11:03 am in News

9 March 2018

We post to BioRXiv, the pre-print server for biology:
Why Should Mitochondria Define Species?
Mark Y. Stoeckle, David S. Thaler
Comments on the paper are most welcome.

Posted at 06:03 pm in News

26 February 2018


The Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project:
Exploring the Intersections of Science and Art

Jesse Ausubel, Karina Åberg, and Thomas P. Sakmar
Monday, February 12, 2018
6:00–7:15 p.m.Caspary Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065click on the title to see the lecture in YouTube
DNA sequencing has revolutionized the study of human genetic variation, and insights derived from DNA now matter in diverse settings – from hospitals to courtrooms. Scientists are now also exploring information that DNA might yield about cultural heritage. For example, what can it reveal about works of art and their creators?

Leonardo da Vinci is widely recognized as one of the most extraordinary figures in human history. Leading up to the 500th anniversary of his death in 2019, an international team –– including anthropologists, artists, art historians, forensic experts, genealogists, microbiologists, physicians, and population geneticists –– has assembled to uncover new facts and insights about Leonardo. One of the ambitious goals of the team is to use pioneering methods to obtain traces of DNA attributable to Leonardo from artworks, notebooks or other sources.

On Monday, February 12, three members of The Leonardo DNA Project team – Jesse Ausubel, Karina Åberg, and Thomas P. Sakmar – will describe the origins of this remarkable project, provide a progress report on their research, and reflect on how this scientific inquiry may contribute to art history and conservation, while uncovering new information about Leonardo’s life, ancestry and exceptional abilities.

Jesse Ausubel, Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University, has helped design and conduct major international research programs, including the Census of Marine Life, Barcode of Life initiative, and Encyclopedia of Life. His lab is now using very short sequences of loose DNA found in seawater to assess the status of marine life. He initiated The Leonardo DNA Project in 2014.

Karina Åberg is a visual artist with a longstanding special interest in the application of digital technology to education. Her unique skill set and enthusiasm about digital media and technology have facilitated her innovative contributions to digital design, advertising, communications and teaching. Her early training in Renaissance art techniques has led to several advances as a member of The Leonardo DNA Project since 2015.

Thomas P. Sakmar is a physician-scientist and the Richard M. & Isabel P. Furlaud Professor at The Rockefeller University, where he heads the Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Signal Transduction. His research program is dedicated to chemical biology and drug discovery research. His interest in visual sensory perception and the origins of creativity in science and the arts have led to his involvement in The Leonardo DNA Project since 2014.

Posted at 09:02 am in News

11 January 2018

Mark Stoeckle, together with co-authors Lyubov Soboleva (Hunter College) and Zachary Charlop-Powers (Rockefeller University), update their 2017 paper “Aquatic environmental DNA detects seasonal fish abundance and habitat preference in an urban estuary” (PLOS ONE e0175186). They extended their original six-month study to twelve months, making this one of the longest time series of fish monitoring by eDNA to date. The new analysis shows how little bits of DNA shed by fish track the seasonal movements of fish populations in and out of New York Harbor. eDNA also gives a picture of how the relative abundance of species differs from one habitat to another. These results help open our eyes to how eDNA can improve monitoring of ocean life.

This figure shows how many species were detected (black) and water temperature (blue) over the course of the year.  Other figures and spreadsheets are posted and on FigShare

Posted at 02:01 pm in News

11 December 2017

Jesse Ausubel will present the keynote address to the 2018 Potato Business Summit of the United Potato Growers of America at Potato Expo, 8am Wednesday 10 January. The slides and video are linked at

Posted at 11:12 am in News

4 December 2017

Jesse Ausubel will give a free seminar open to the public Wednesday 6 December 2017 in Washington DC at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History on landless agriculture and rebounding nature.

Posted at 02:12 pm in News

28 November 2017

Jesse Ausubel offered 900 words of remarks to open a panel discussion on energy transitions at the Breakthrough Dialogue East at Airlie House in Virginia on 17 November 2017

Posted at 10:11 am in News