Meet Sophia Newton – EBL’s summer REU student!

Sophia Newton is so excited to be a virtual intern from York, Maine this summer. Usually, she spends her whole summer on the ocean teaching sailing – but this summer she’s switching it up! Sophia will be working with Dr. Bowers on a qPCR assay for a harmful algae species, Akashiwo sanguinea. In the Fall, Sophia will return to the University of Michigan as a junior to continue her studies in mechanical engineering. She is extremely interested in engineering and scientific applications in the unexplored regions of the ocean.

Workshop report: Envisioning the Future of eDNA Sampling and Sample Processing

Jason and Holly recently served on the scoping committee for a series of workshops (under the auspices of the Alliance for Coastal Technologies) aimed at discussing the early stages of sample collection for eDNA analysis. This is a rapidly growing area, and these discussions are important for understanding the challenges, consensus thoughts, and paths forward.

Click here for the workshop report!

Holly headlines MLML Alumnae Melinda Nakagawa’s Nature Journaling Class!

Who doesn’t love phytoplankton? Holly teamed up with past MLML student Melinda Nakagawa to lead nearly 40 people of all ages in a relaxing Sunday online Nature Journaling session. We had visitors from all over the world, including London and a gentleman Zooming in from his boat off of Cape Cod. The focus was on patterns, symmetry and swimming behavior as we cruised through a variety of mesmerizing videos and still shots. It was fun to introduce folks to what lurks beneath – to a world that supplies 50% of our oxygen!

ACT: Harmful Algal Toxin Detection System performance demonstrations released!

The Alliance for Coastal Technologies is pleased to announce the release of Performance Demonstrations for several Harmful Algal Toxin Detection Systems including 1) MBio’s HAB Toxin MC/CYN Gen 1 System (microcystin/cylindrospermopsin); 2) Beacon Analytical Systems’ Field Tube Kits (microcystin and domoic acid [beta version]); and 3) Phytoxigene real-time qPCR kits: CyanoDTec (microcystin/nodularin, cylindrospermopsin, saxitoxin, cyanobacterial 16S) and DinoDTec (saxitoxin in dinoflagellates).

pdf’s available here

The kits were put through a series of laboratory (Moss Landing Marine Labs [CA], Bowling Green State University [OH]) and field deployments in Long Island Sound (NY), the Great Lakes (MI), and the Monterey Bay (CA) area.

The Evaluation Team included: Tom Johengen, Heidi Purcell, Deanna Fyffe (Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research), G. Jason Smith, Holly Bowers (Moss Landing Marine Labs), Dan Schar (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology), Tim Davis (Bowling Green State University), Earle Buckley (Buckley Environmental), and Mario Tamburri (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences).

The team wishes to acknowledge the support of all those who helped plan and conduct the demonstrations, analyze the data, and prepare these reports. In particular, we would like to thank our Technical Advisory Committee: Joel Allen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Dianne Greenfield, Dr. Dianne Greenfield, City University of New York (CUNY), Meredith Howard, California State Water Resources Control Board, Keith Loftin, U.S. Geological Survey for their advice and direct participation in various aspects of these demonstrations. Earle Buckley also provided critical input on all aspects of this work and served as the independent Quality Assurance Manager. This work has been coordinated with, and funded by, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Integrated Ocean Observing System program.

NHABON Implementation Report

H. Bowers was recently part of the working group formed to flesh out the strategy for implementation of a National Harmful Algal Bloom Observing Network (NHABON). This document serves as a springboard for moving forward with integrating local, state, and regional capabilities. An operational system would serve to provide early warning and forecasting toward a better understanding of HAB dynamics and their impacts on local economies. In 2020, there was bi-partisan support in Congress to move ahead with such an approach.

Implementation strategy:
Full framework document:

Holly visits Cawthron!

Holly had an awesome experience as a visiting researcher at Cawthron (New Zealand) in 2020! Although she has previously collaborated with some of their team, those relationships were expanded upon and new ones were formed during this visit. She worked closely with the Biosecurity Team to run two experiments testing different filter types and filtration times for efficient eDNA and eRNA capture, using the dinoflagellate Alexandrium as a model species. An eDNA/eRNA review paper with a biosecurity angle is in the works. With the Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme she worked to expand geographic specificity testing for qPCR assays targeting four species within the toxin-producing genus Pseudo-nitzschia. A continuing collaboration with the team aims to characterize species diversity and toxin production of a subset of Pseudo-nitzschia species around New Zealand. She returns with an expanded knowledge base and heaps of ideas for future collaborations!    

Heading back to Picton after a successful dolphin watching trip!

Webinar: Beyond the Lab, How to Generate High Quality qPCR Data Anywhere

Recently, Holly (in conjunction with Ubiquitome) gave a webinar about using the handheld qPCR machine in the field. The webinar was designed to be interactive such that attendees from around the world could ask questions and share in the challenges of field-based testing.

You can catch the webinar here!