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Webinar: Global marine biodiversity monitoring through partnership and innovation

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Wednesday, 20 July 2022, 12:00

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 12:00 PM. Webinar: Global marine biodiversity monitoring through partnership and innovation. Luke Thompson, MSU. Sponsored by NOAA Omics Working Group. More information here. Register here.

Abstract: Understanding of marine biogeochemistry and conservation of marine communities depends on high-quality assessments of biodiversity. A growing component of biodiversity monitoring is DNA sequencing, which is being coupled with high-throughput imaging and remote sensing to provide ever more comprehensive profiles of marine communities. Some of the challenges in this effort include inconsistent sampling programs, incomplete reference databases (for both genetic and optical data), lack of analytical reproducibility, and under-developed machine learning and modeling methods. At AOML, we are addressing these challenges to help realize the potential of global ocean sampling for oceanography, climate science, and conservation. We are sampling multiple ocean basins with a standardized approach, including the Gulf of Mexico projects South Florida MBON (2015 - present), SEAMAP (2019 - 2021), and GOMECC (2017 - 2021) and global sampling projects Bio-GO-SHIP (2022 - beyond) and Tara Mission Microbiomes (2022). We are sequencing taxa missing from reference databases and creating software tools to improve existing reference databases. We are developing workflows to promote rapid and iterable analysis and meta-analysis of genetic data. And we are developing and refining algorithms to improve taxonomic assignment of genetic sequences, model biodiversity data with environmental parameters, and create composite indices from multiple measures of biodiversity. In this talk, I will present the progress we have made on each of these fronts, describe the datasets we have assembled and have planned, and share some of the initial emerging patterns from our surveys of the Gulf of Mexico.

Bio(s): Dr. Luke Thompson is an associate research professor at the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI) at Mississippi State University and NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami. Luke received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and his PhD from MIT, both in biology. His current research focuses on marine systems, from microbes to fish to mammals, using 'omics methods, especially DNA sequencing. His lab is developing methods to facilitate high-throughput environmental DNA sample processing and data analysis, and applying them to monitoring and conservation efforts in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.

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