Short video about passive acoustic monitoring for ocean life

The International Quiet Ocean Experiment (IQOE) in 2023 gave birth to World Ocean Passive Acoustic Monitoring (WOPAM) Day.  The excellent 2024 WOPAM Day video can be seen at https://x.com/GLUBS1/status/1798995048522277190.   The full soundtrack for WOPAM Day 2024 is at: https://www.wo-pam.com/wopam-2024 (scroll down and see the link).  Congratulations to Miles Parsons and other team members on extending the 2024 monitoring to about 400 sites around the world!

Jesse & Mark NOAA ‘Omics Webinar on eDNA-dominant fish species

NOAA has posted the video of their ‘Omics Seminar Series: eDNA-Dominant Marine Fish Species Characterize Coastal Habitats presented on 28 February, 2024 by Mark Stoeckle and Jesse Ausubel. The 1-hour seminar is full of new results and ideas about using eDNA data to characterize marine regions and features Mark’s excellent graphics.

Title: eDNA-Dominant Marine Fish Species Characterize Coastal Habitats: an eDNA-Based Classifier Approach to Aid Marine Biogeography and Ocean Monitoring by Mark Stoeckle & Jesse Ausubel

Abstract: A small minority of species typically account for the great majority of individuals or biomass. Here we characterize marine coastal habitats based on abundance of marine fish environmental DNA. We designate the ten most eDNA-abundant fish species in each habitat as eDNA-dominant species. eDNA-dominant species are similar within but differ among habitats and seasons and accord with abundance by traditional survey methods. “Classifiers” based on eDNA-dominant fish species could help map marine fish habitats and monitor changing oceans. Advantages include relatively low sampling requirements, a single technology applicable to diverse habitats, and ease of application to multiple datasets.

Fusion power density demonstrated

We have long focused on power density as the central arrow of energy system evolution. The recent achievement of the Joint European Torus (JET) to set a new fusion energy record of 69.26 megajoules of heat released during a single pulse over six seconds from only 0.21 milligrams of fuel, equalling the energy released from burning 2 kilograms of coal, prompts us to update our classic figure, below and as a pdf. Thanks to long-time PHE research associate Dr. Nadedja M. Victor, now at US DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Fuel mass per energy, including nuclear fuels. Economies of scale favor fuels suited to higher power density, thus decarbonization and finally nuclear sources, at least 10,000 times more compact than hydrocarbons.  The recent JET fusion experiment achieved density 10,000,000 times coal  with deuterium-tritium fuel.  Note: *CANDU is a pressurized heavy water reactor.  Sources of data:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density and https://euro-fusion.org/eurofusion-news/dte3record/.  Figure prepared by N.M.Victor, 2/9/2024.  Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University.

2023    Discussion Paper on commercial dimensions of US aquatic eDNA strategy

Together with Chris Scholin (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute), Alan Curry and Jesse Ausubel have prepared a Discussion Paper Assessing the financial, commercial, and economic dimensions of a US National Aquatic eDNA Strategy. This is a contribution to the effort to develop a strategy for release at the 3rd national conference on marine eDNA which will take place in June 2024. Comments welcome.

St Andrews Prize for the Environment to Amazon forest protection

The St Andrews Prize for the Environment of the University of St Andrews recognizes and supports innovative and inspirational responses to environmental challenges.  In 2023, Jesse Ausubel joined the jury, which awarded the $100,000 2023 prize to Alianza Ceibo for their Indigenous-led effort for protection of the Upper Amazon Rainforest. 

eDNA of Newtown Creek, industrial waterway separating Queens & Brooklyn

RockEDU summer students Priyam Shah and Michael Epelman, who just completed high school, teamed with mentor extraordinaire Mark Stoeckle to study the fishes of an NYC Superfund Site, Newtown Creek.  Their excellent poster shows that eDNA detected a surprising diversity of fish in Newtown Creek, despite ongoing pollution and sewage overflow. The number and relative abundance of fish species differed among sites consistent with species habitat preference and pollution tolerance. Our data support eDNA as a cost-effective, non-destructive method for monitoring fish populations and assessing habitat restoration efforts in Newtown Creek and other Superfund sites