Another busy week in the lab has resulted in some success in studying sea cucumber aiFVs. Around 3 weeks ago we received our newly-designed, highly degenerate PCR primers to study aiFV diversity; this was a bit of a long-shot since the aiFV genomes that are known are very divergent – sharing only ~ 40 –… Read More Success! We think…
As part of our new work on aquatic flaviviruses in sea cucumbers, we have begun to explore the microbiome of sea cucumber body wall tissues, which we expect will vary under organic matter enrichment and ultimately we hope to test whether this impacts flavivirus replication. We haven’t yet been in the lab this year aside… Read More Exploring the Microbiome of Sea Cucumbers
… a little different. Work is undoubtedly a lot slower than the before times, but we’re still getting things done as best we can! Cornell restarted research labs in mid-summer 2020 after shutting down for nearly 3 months. To de-densify our building and ensure safety of all workers, each lab has a reactivation plan, which… Read More What does research in the era of COVID look like at the TAV?
The team has started work on our new NSF-funded project looking at aquatic insect-only (aka invertebrate) flaviviruses (aiFVs)! This exciting new direction seeks to understand how environmental variation drives viral replication within sea cucumber tissues. As part of this new endeavor we are trying to find out how widespread and how diverse these aiFVs are… Read More The hunt for aquatic invertebrate flaviviruses begins!
It’s been a very busy start to 2021… notwithstanding a global pandemic, an administrative pivot, and the star of teaching, the team’s also been busy since the publication of our work on sea star wasting disease and the boundary layer oxygen diffusion limitation hypothesis. For the last few weeks, news media outlets from AAAS/Sciencemag through… Read More So how do boundary layer processes scale to the geographic extent of SSWD in 2013-2014? And other future ideas.
I’m excited to announce that the lab has been awarded funding from NSF to study the interaction between oceanographic conditions, sea cucumbers, and a newly-discovered group of enveloped single-stranded RNA viruses (the aquatic invertebrate-only Flaviviruses or aiFVs). We know very little about the ecology of this group of viruses, which are distant relatives of important… Read More New Project – Aquatic Flaviviruses and Sea Cucumbers!
In Ishiro Honda’s 1954 “Godzilla”, the world is menaced by a towering, semi-aquatic kaiju who wreaks havoc on coastal cities and villages. The monster seems impossible to stop, repelling high-powered military artillery and stomping on tanks. However, Emiko Yamane (played by Momoko Kochi) stumbles on a new weapon which seems to arrest all life in… Read More A non-infectious etiology for Sea Star Wasting Disease
Ian Hewson, Department of Microbiology, Cornell University **I was asked recently to put together a non-oceanographer/scientist explanation of sea star wasting and our recent work on boundary layer oxygen diffusion limitation, which is below** Seven years into our investigation of sea star wasting, we have learned much about starfish, their biology, and how they interact… Read More Explanation of Boundary Layer Oxygen Diffusion Limitation Hypothesis for Sea Star Wasting
After many years of concerted investigation, the team and some colleagues now have multiple, convergent lines of evidence to suggest that sea star wasting disease is a sequela of organic matter remineralization (and subsequent hypoxic conditions) in the boundary layer overlying respiratory surfaces. We see this reflected in microbiome trends during wasting (copiotrophs –> anaerobes).… Read More New Preprint on Sea Star Wasting – It’s all about the Boundary Layer
Gideon Mordecai (UBC) and I have recently published a mini-review on marine coronaviruses in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. While not much is known about the true diversity of coronaviruses in marine ecosystems (because they are hugely under-sampled), we can learn about how they may behave in marine habitats through other enveloped, ssRNA viruses.