Last week AOML and CIMAS coral researchers, Graham Kolodziej, Anderson Mayfield, and Derek Manzello, entered the ocean off of the Upper Florida Keys to collect tiny floating balls being released from the protected mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata). Taking place shortly after moonrise, the spawning process is a visually beautiful part of the circle of life for corals, releasing gametes into the ocean water to become fertilized and eventually settle to create new corals stony coral colonies.
Scientists from NOAA and the Monterey Bay Research Institute (MBARI) are teaming up on June 3-4, 2019 to conduct a complex mission which will integrate acoustic measurements and autonomous sample collection for analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA). Through these efforts NOAA scientists hope to develop faster and cheaper ecosystem assessment methods, ensure sustainable fisheries and broaden our understanding of life in the oceans.
Few accessible places represent Earth’s natural beauty quite like our beaches, but looks can be deceiving if there is a bacterial outbreak or contamination from offshore activities. Not being able to see these contaminants puts families at risk of exposure if they aren’t properly warned. The BEACHES project (Beach Exposure And Child Health Study), a collaboration between the University of Miami’s College of Engineering and the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and AOML, along with the Universities of Arkansas and Texas, aims to pair child behavioral science with microbiology to address exposure risk of beachgoers.
The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) cruise sampling was completed on April 21st aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada.
On May 13th, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy introduced the National Microbiome Initiative, an effort to support multi-agency research to help sample and better understand communities of microorganisms that are critical to both human health and the world’s ecosystems. As the nation’s premier ocean science agency, NOAA is leading interdisciplinary research to improve observation and assessment of marine microbiomes. To support this national initiative, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) received nearly $2 million in funding this year to conduct a number of projects that integrate genetic sampling techniques and technologies to help advance the understanding of the ocean’s microbiomes.
NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory is teaming up with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Integrated Ocean Observing System, as well as the J.C. Venter Institute and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to enhance ecosystem observation programs by integrating genome-enabled techniques and technologies (i.e., ‘omics) into the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI). CalCOFI is a multi-partner, long-term ecosystem and fisheries study off the coast of California. The first quarterly CalCOFI expedition that included ‘omics recently completed at the end of November.
NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) participated in Ocean Sampling Day on June 21, the first global simultaneous sampling for microbes in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes waters. Over time, sampling will support international and NOAA missions to provide a snapshot of the diversity of microbes, their functions, and their potential economic benefits. Among other economic applications, microbes have been used for novel medicines, as biofuels, and to consume spilled oil. Organized and led by the European Union’s MicroB3 organization, NOAA coordinated twelve sampling sites for Ocean Sampling Day 2014 within U.S. coastal waters.