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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-06
    Description: Benthic foraminifera are unicellular eukaryotes inhabiting sediments of aquatic environments. Several species were shown to store and use nitrate for complete denitrification, a unique energy metabolism among eukaryotes. The population of benthic foraminifera reaches high densities in oxygen-depleted marine habitats, where they play a key role in the marine nitrogen cycle. However, the mechanisms of denitrification in foraminifera are still unknown, and the possibility of a contribution of associated bacteria is debated. Here, we present evidence for a novel eukaryotic denitrification pathway that is encoded in foraminiferal genomes. Large-scale genome and transcriptomes analyses reveal the presence of a denitrification pathway in foraminifera species of the genus Globobulimina. This includes the enzymes nitrite reductase (NirK) and nitric oxide reductase (Nor) as well as a wide range of nitrate transporters (Nrt). A phylogenetic reconstruction of the enzymes' evolutionary history uncovers evidence for an ancient acquisition of the foraminiferal denitrification pathway from prokaryotes. We propose a model for denitrification in foraminifera, where a common electron transport chain is used for anaerobic and aerobic respiration. The evolution of hybrid respiration in foraminifera likely contributed to their ecological success, which is well documented in palaeontological records since the Cambrian period.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Highlights • Records of hard-bottom communities show regional differences in community dynamics. • Regionally, signs of regime shift were detected. • Shift can be explained by the decline of the foundation species Mytilus sp. • Modelling process revealed three environmental variables explaining the decline. • Regional differences in larval dispersal could explain contrary Mytilus recoveries. Abstract Ecological processes modulate ecosystem functioning and services. Foundation species are those exerting intense control on such processes as both their existence and loss have profound implications on the structure of ecological communities. For the distinction between random fluctuations and directional regime shifts in community composition, long-term records are of strategic need. In this study we present the monitoring of benthic hard-bottom communities over 11 years along seven stations in the SW Baltic Sea. Regional differences were found between the communities of Kiel and Lübeck bights, with the former area displaying signs of regime shift. The decline and near disappearance of the foundational species Mytilus edulis from settlement panels deployed in Kiel Bight correlated with three environmental variables: sea surface temperature, water current speed and chlorophyll a concentration. Thus, low spring temperatures, in some cases reinforced by local maxima of chlorophyll a, correlated with reduced recruitment of Mytilus. Moreover, regional differences of larval dispersal and population connectivity could explain the rapid recovery after disturbance of the mussel populations in Lübeck Bight in contrast to Kiel Bight. Our findings underscore the relevance of long-term monitoring programmes to detect the interactive impacts of global climatic and regional environmental drivers.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: CO2-induced ocean acidification and associated decrease of seawater carbonate saturation state contributed to multiple environmental crises in Earth’s history, and currently poses a major threat for marine calcifying organisms. Owing to their high abundance and good preservation in the Phanerozoic geological record, brachiopods present an advantageous taxon of marine calcifiers for palaeo-proxy applications as well as studies on biological mechanism to cope with environmental change. To investigate the geochemical and physiological responses of brachiopods to prolonged low-pH conditions we cultured Magellania venosa, Terebratella dorsata and Pajaudina atlantica under controlled experimental settings over a period of more than two years. Our experiments demonstrate that brachiopods form their calcite shells under strong biological control, which enables them to survive and grow under low-pH conditions and even in seawater strongly undersaturated with respect to calcite (pH = 7.35, Ωcal = 0.6). Using boron isotope (δ11B) systematics including MC-ICP-MS as well as SIMS analyses, validated against in vivo microelectrode measurements, we show that this resilience is achieved by strict regulation of the calcifying fluid pH between the epithelial mantle and the shell. We provide a culture-based δ11B−pH calibration, which as a result of the internal pH regulatory mechanisms deviates from the inorganic borate ion to pH relationship, but confirms a clear yet subtle pH dependency for brachiopods. At a micro-scale level, the incorporation of 11B appears to be principally driven by a physiological gradient across the shell, where the δ11B values of the innermost calcite record the internal calcifying fluid pH while the composition of the outermost layers is also influenced by seawater pH. These findings are of consequence to studies on biomineralisation processes, physiological adaptations as well as past climate reconstructions.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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