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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2016-10-12
    Description: Growth, protein amount, and activity levels of metabolic pathways in Trichodesmium are influenced by environmental changes such as elevated pCO2 and temperature. This study examines changes in the expression of essential metabolic genes in Trichodesmium grown under a matrix of pCO2 (400 and 900 µatm) and temperature (25 and 31°C). Using RT-qPCR, we studied 21 genes related to four metabolic functional groups: CO2 concentrating mechanism (bicA1, bicA2, ccmM, ccmK2, ccmK3, ndhF4, ndhD4, ndhL, chpX), energy metabolism (atpB, sod, prx, glcD), nitrogen metabolism (glnA, hetR, nifH), and inorganic carbon fixation and photosynthesis (rbcL, rca, psaB, psaC, psbA). nifH and most photosynthetic genes exhibited relatively high abundance and their expression was influenced by both environmental parameters. A two to three orders of magnitude increase was observed for glnA and hetR only when both pCO2 and temperature were elevated. CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were not affected by pCO2 and temperature and their expression levels were markedly lower than that of the nitrogen metabolism and photosynthetic genes. Many of the CO2 concentrating mechanism genes were co-expressed throughout the day. Our results demonstrate that in Trichodesmium, CO2 concentrating mechanism genes are constitutively expressed. Co-expression of genes from different functional groups were frequently observed during the first half of the photoperiod when oxygenic photosynthesis and N2 fixation take place, pointing at the tight and complex regulation of gene expression in Trichodesmium. Here we provide new data linking environmental changes of pCO2 and temperature to gene expression in Trichodesmium. Although gene expression indicates an active metabolic pathway, there is often an uncoupling between transcription and enzyme activity, such that transcript level cannot usually be directly extrapolated to metabolic activity.
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Progressive ocean acidification due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions will alter marine ecosytem processes. Calcifying organisms might be particularly vulnerable to these alterations in the speciation of the marine carbonate system. While previous research efforts have mainly focused on external dissolution of shells in seawater under saturated with respect to calcium carbonate, the internal shell interface might be more vulnerable to acidification. In the case of the blue mussel Mytilus edulis, high body fluid pCO2 causes low pH and low carbonate concentrations in the extrapallial fluid, which is in direct contact with the inner shell surface. In order to test whether elevated seawater pCO2 impacts calcification and inner shell surface integrity we exposed Baltic M. edulis to four different seawater pCO2 (39, 142, 240, 405 Pa) and two food algae (310–350 cells mL−1 vs. 1600–2000 cells mL−1) concentrations for a period of seven weeks during winter (5°C). We found that low food algae concentrations and high pCO2 values each significantly decreased shell length growth. Internal shell surface corrosion of nacreous ( = aragonite) layers was documented via stereomicroscopy and SEM at the two highest pCO2 treatments in the high food group, while it was found in all treatments in the low food group. Both factors, food and pCO2, significantly influenced the magnitude of inner shell surface dissolution. Our findings illustrate for the first time that integrity of inner shell surfaces is tightly coupled to the animals' energy budget under conditions of CO2 stress. It is likely that under food limited conditions, energy is allocated to more vital processes (e.g. somatic mass maintenance) instead of shell conservation. It is evident from our results that mussels exert significant biological control over the structural integrity of their inner shell surfaces.
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: In comparison with terrestrial plants the mechanistic knowledge of chemical defences is poor for marine macroalgae. This restricts our understanding in the chemically mediated interactions that take place between algae and other organisms. Technical advances such as metabolomics, however, enable new approaches towards the characterisation of the chemically mediated interactions of organisms with their environment. We address defence responses in the red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla using mass spectrometry based metabolomics in combination with bioassays. Being invasive in the north Atlantic this alga is likely to possess chemical defences according to the prediction that well-defended exotics are most likely to become successful invaders in systems dominated by generalist grazers, such as marine macroalgal communities. We investigated the effect of intense herbivore feeding and simulated herbivory by mechanical wounding of the algae. Both processes led to similar changes in the metabolic profile. Feeding experiments with the generalist isopod grazer Idotea baltica showed that mechanical wounding caused a significant increase in grazer resistance. Structure elucidation of the metabolites of which some were up-regulated more than 100 times in the wounded tissue, revealed known and novel eicosanoids as major components. Among these were prostaglandins, hydroxylated fatty acids and arachidonic acid derived conjugated lactones. Bioassays with pure metabolites showed that these eicosanoids are part of the innate defence system of macroalgae, similarly to animal systems. In accordance with an induced defence mechanism application of extracts from wounded tissue caused a significant increase in grazer resistance and the up-regulation of other pathways than in the activated defence. Thus, this study suggests that G. vermiculophylla chemically deters herbivory by two lines of defence, a rapid wound-activated process followed by a slower inducible defence. By unravelling involved pathways using metabolomics this work contributes significantly to the understanding of activated and inducible defences for marine macroalgae.
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Extreme climate events such as heat waves are expected to increase in frequency under global change. As one indirect effect, they can alter magnitude and direction of species interactions, for example those between hosts and parasites. We simulated a summer heat wave to investigate how a changing environment affects the interaction between the broad-nosed pipefish (Syngnathus typhle) as a host and its digenean trematode parasite (Cryptocotyle lingua). In a fully reciprocal laboratory infection experiment, pipefish from three different coastal locations were exposed to sympatric and allopatric trematode cercariae. In order to examine whether an extreme climatic event disrupts patterns of locally adapted host-parasite combinations we measured the parasite's transmission success as well as the host's adaptive and innate immune defence under control and heat wave conditions. Independent of temperature, sympatric cercariae were always more successful than allopatric ones, indicating that parasites are locally adapted to their hosts. Hosts suffered from heat stress as suggested by fewer cells of the adaptive immune system (lymphocytes) compared to the same groups that were kept at 18°C. However, the proportion of the innate immune cells (monocytes) was higher in the 18°C water. Contrary to our expectations, no interaction between host immune defence, parasite infectivity and temperature stress were found, nor did the pattern of local adaptation change due to increased water temperature. Thus, in this host-parasite interaction, the sympatric parasite keeps ahead of the coevolutionary dynamics across sites, even under increasing temperatures as expected under marine global warming.
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-10-24
    Description: The Andaman Sea and other macrotidal semi-enclosed tropical seas feature large amplitude internal waves (LAIW). Although LAIW induce strong fluctuations i.e. of temperature, pH, and nutrients, their influence on reef development is so far unknown. A better-known source of disturbance is the monsoon affecting corals due to turbulent mixing and sedimentation. Because in the Andaman Sea both, LAIW and monsoon, act from the same westerly direction their relative contribution to reef development is difficult to discern. Here, we explore the framework development in a number of offshore island locations subjected to differential LAIW- and SW-monsoon impact to address this open question. Cumulative negative temperature anomalies – a proxy for LAIW impact – explained a higher percentage of the variability in coral reef framework height, than sedimentation rates which resulted mainly from the monsoon. Temperature anomalies and sediment grain size provided the best correlation with framework height suggesting that so far neglected subsurface processes (LAIW) play a significant role in shaping coral reefs.
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2013-05-21
    Description: The dissolution of CaCO3 is one of the ways ocean acidification can, potentially, greatly affect the ballast of aggregates. A diminution of the ballast could reduce the settling speed of aggregates, resulting in a change in the carbon flux to the deep sea. This would mean lower amounts of more refractory organic matter reaching the ocean floor. This work aimed to determine the effect of ocean acidification on the ballast of sinking surface aggregates. Our hypothesis was that the decrease of pH will increase the dissolution of particulate inorganic carbon ballasting the aggregates, consequently reducing their settling velocity and increasing their residence time in the upper twilight zone. Using a new methodology for simulation of aggregate settling, our results suggest that future pCO2 conditions can significantly change the ballast composition of sinking aggregates. The change in aggregate composition had an effect on the size distribution of the aggregates, with a shift to smaller aggregates. A change also occurred in the settling velocity of the particles, which would lead to a higher residence time in the water column, where they could be continuously degraded. In the environment, such an effect would result in a reduction of the carbon flux to the deep-sea. This reduction would impact those benthic communities, which rely on the vertical flow of carbon as primary source of energy.
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Climate forcing in complex ecosystems can have profound implications for ecosystem sustainability and may thus challenge a precautionary ecosystem management. Climatic influences documented to affect various ecological functions on a global scale, may themselves be observed on quantitative or qualitative scales including regime shifts in complex marine ecosystems. This study investigates the potential climatic impact on the reproduction success of spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) in the Western Baltic Sea (WBSS herring). To test for climate effects on reproduction success, the regionally determined and scientifically well-documented spawning grounds of WBSS herring represent an ideal model system. Climate effects on herring reproduction were investigated using two global indices of atmospheric variability and sea surface temperature, represented by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), respectively, and the Baltic Sea Index (BSI) which is a regional-scale atmospheric index for the Baltic Sea. Moreover, we combined a traditional approach with modern time series analysis based on a recruitment model connecting parental population components with reproduction success. Generalized transfer functions (ARIMAX models) allowed evaluating the dynamic nature of exogenous climate processes interacting with the endogenous recruitment process. Using different model selection criteria our results reveal that in contrast to NAO and AMO, the BSI shows a significant positive but delayed signal on the annual dynamics of herring recruitment. The westward influence of the Siberian high is considered strongly suppressing the influence of the NAO in this area leading to a higher explanatory power of the BSI reflecting the atmospheric pressure regime on a North-South transect between Oslo, Norway and Szczecin, Poland. We suggest incorporating climate-induced effects into stock and risk assessments and management strategies as part of the EU ecosystem approach to support sustainable herring fisheries in the Western Baltic Sea.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2014-06-11
    Description: As the atmospheric CO2 concentration rises, more CO2 will dissolve in the oceans, leading to a reduction in pH. Effects of ocean acidification on bacterial communities have mainly been studied in biologically complex systems, in which indirect effects, mediated through food web interactions, come into play. These approaches come close to nature but suffer from low replication and neglect seasonality. To comprehensively investigate direct pH effects, we conducted highly-replicated laboratory acidification experiments with the natural bacterial community from Helgoland Roads (North Sea). Seasonal variability was accounted for by repeating the experiment four times (spring, summer, autumn, winter). Three dilution approaches were used to select for different ecological strategies, i.e. fast-growing or low-nutrient adapted bacteria. The pH levels investigated were in situ seawater pH (8.15–8.22), pH 7.82 and pH 7.67, representing the present-day situation and two acidification scenarios projected for the North Sea for the year 2100. In all seasons, both automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis and 16S ribosomal amplicon pyrosequencing revealed pH-dependent community shifts for two of the dilution approaches. Bacteria susceptible to changes in pH were different members of Gammaproteobacteria, Flavobacteriaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Campylobacteraceae and further less abundant groups. Their specific response to reduced pH was often context-dependent. Bacterial abundance was not influenced by pH. Our findings suggest that already moderate changes in pH have the potential to cause compositional shifts, depending on the community assembly and environmental factors. By identifying pH-susceptible groups, this study provides insights for more directed, in-depth community analyses in large-scale and long-term experiments.
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2014-08-04
    Description: Knowledge on spatial scales of the distribution of deep-sea life is still sparse, but highly relevant to the understanding of dispersal, habitat ranges and ecological processes. We examined regional spatial distribution patterns of the benthic bacterial community and covarying environmental parameters such as water depth, biomass and energy availability at the Arctic Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site HAUSGARTEN (Eastern Fram Strait). Samples from 13 stations were retrieved from a bathymetric (1,284-3,535 m water depth, 54 km in length) and a latitudinal transect (∼ 2,500 m water depth; 123 km in length). 454 massively parallel tag sequencing (MPTS) and automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) were combined to describe both abundant and rare types shaping the bacterial community. This spatial sampling scheme allowed detection of up to 99% of the estimated richness on phylum and class levels. At the resolution of operational taxonomic units (97% sequence identity; OTU3%) only 36% of the Chao1 estimated richness was recovered, indicating a high diversity, mostly due to rare types (62% of all OTU3%). Accordingly, a high turnover of the bacterial community was also observed between any two sampling stations (average replacement of 79% of OTU3%), yet no direct correlation with spatial distance was observed within the region. Bacterial community composition and structure differed significantly with increasing water depth along the bathymetric transect. The relative sequence abundance of Verrucomicrobia and Planctomycetes decreased significantly with water depth, and that of Deferribacteres increased. Energy availability, estimated from phytodetrital pigment concentrations in the sediments, partly explained the variation in community structure. Overall, this study indicates a high proportion of unique bacterial types on relatively small spatial scales (tens of kilometers), and supports the sampling design of the LTER site HAUSGARTEN to study bacterial community shifts in this rapidly changing area of the world's oceans.
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2014-11-06
    Description: Gelatinous zooplankton outbreaks have increased globally owing to a number of human-mediated factors, including food web alterations and species introductions. The invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi entered the Black Sea in the early 1980s. The invasion was followed by the Azov, Caspian, Baltic and North Seas, and, most recently, the Mediterranean Sea. Previous studies identified two distinct invasion pathways of M. leidyi from its native range in the western Atlantic Ocean to Eurasia. However, the source of newly established populations in the Mediterranean Sea remains unclear. Here we build upon our previous study and investigate sequence variation in both mitochondrial (Cytochrome c Oxidase subunit I) and nuclear (Internal Transcribed Spacer) markers in M. leidyi, encompassing five native and 11 introduced populations, including four from the Mediterranean Sea. Extant genetic diversity in Mediterranean populations (n = 8, Na = 10) preclude the occurrence of a severe genetic bottleneck or founder effects in the initial colonizing population. Our mitochondrial and nuclear marker surveys revealed two possible pathways of introduction into Mediterranean Sea. In total, 17 haplotypes and 18 alleles were recovered from all surveyed populations. Haplotype and allelic diversity of Mediterranean populations were comparable to populations from which they were likely drawn. The distribution of genetic diversity and pattern of genetic differentiation suggest initial colonization of the Mediterranean from the Black-Azov Seas (pairwise FST = 0.001–0.028). However, some haplotypes and alleles from the Mediterranean Sea were not detected from the well-sampled Black Sea, although they were found in Gulf of Mexico populations that were also genetically similar to those in the Mediterranean Sea (pairwise FST = 0.010–0.032), raising the possibility of multiple invasion sources. Multiple introductions from a combination of Black Sea and native region sources could be facilitated by intense local and transcontinental shipping activity, respectively.
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2014-11-06
    Description: We explored possible links between vector activity and genetic diversity in introduced populations of Limnoperna fortunei by characterizing the genetic structure in native and introduced ranges in Asia and South America. We surveyed 24 populations: ten in Asia and 14 in South America using the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene, as well as eight polymorphic microsatellite markers. We performed population genetics and phylogenetic analyses to investigate population genetic structure across native and introduced regions. Introduced populations in Asia exhibit higher genetic diversity (HE = 0.667–0.746) than those in South America (HE = 0.519–0.575), suggesting higher introduction effort for the former populations. We observed pronounced geographical structuring in introduced regions, as indicated by both mitochondrial and nuclear markers based on multiple genetic analyses including pairwise ФST, FST, Bayesian clustering method, and three-dimensional factorial correspondence analyses. Pairwise FST values within both Asia (FST = 0.017–0.126, P = 0.000–0.009) and South America (FST = 0.004–0.107, P = 0.000–0.721) were lower than those between continents (FST = 0.180–0.319, P = 0.000). Fine-scale genetic structuring was also apparent among introduced populations in both Asia and South America, suggesting either multiple introductions of distinct propagules or strong post-introduction selection and demographic stochasticity. Higher genetic diversity in Asia as compared to South America is likely due to more frequent propagule transfers associated with higher shipping activities between source and donor regions within Asia. This study suggests that the intensity of human-mediated introduction vectors influences patterns of genetic diversity in non-indigenous species.
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2014-08-11
    Description: Despite its huge ecological importance, microbial oxygen respiration in pelagic waters is little studied, primarily due to methodological difficulties. Respiration measurements are challenging because of the required high resolution of oxygen concentration measurements. Recent improvements in oxygen sensing techniques bear great potential to overcome these limitations. Here we compare 3 different methods to measure oxygen consumption rates at low oxygen concentrations, utilizing amperometric Clark type sensors (STOX), optical sensors (optodes), and mass spectrometry in combination with 18-18O2 labeling. Oxygen concentrations and consumption rates agreed well between the different methods when applied in the same experimental setting. Oxygen consumption rates between 30 and 400 nmol L−1 h−1 were measured with high precision and relative standard errors of less than 3%. Rate detection limits in the range of 1 nmol L−1 h−1 were suitable for rate determinations in open ocean water and were lowest at the lowest applied O2 concentration.
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: The termination of the African Humid Period in northeastern Africa during the early Holocene was marked by the southward migration of the rain belt and the disappearance of the Green Sahara. This interval of drastic environmental changes was also marked by the initiation of food production by North African huntergatherer populations and thus provides critical information on human-environment relationships. However, existing records of regional climatic and environmental changes exhibit large differences in timing and modes of the wet/dry transition at the end of the African Humid Period. Here we present independent records of changes in river runoff, vegetation and erosion in the Nile River watershed during the Holocene obtained from a unique sedimentary sequence on the Nile River fan using organic and inorganic proxy data. This high-resolution reconstruction allows to examine the phase relationship between the changes of these three parameters and provides a detailed picture of the environmental conditions during the Paleolithic/Neolithic transition. The data show that river runoff decreased gradually during the wet/arid transition at the end of the AHP whereas rapid shifts of vegetation and erosion occurred earlier between 8.7 and ,6 ka BP. These asynchronous changes are compared to other regional records and provide new insights into the threshold responses of the environment to climatic changes. Our record demonstrates that the degradation of the environment in northeastern Africa was more abrupt and occurred earlier than previously thought and may have accelerated the process of domestication in order to secure sustainable food resources for the Neolithic African populations.
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2015-07-24
    Description: The diversity-ecosystem function relationship is an important topic in ecology but has not received much attention in Arctic environments, and has rarely been tested for its stability in time. We studied the temporal variability of benthic ecosystem functioning at hotspots (sites with high benthic boundary fluxes) and coldspots (sites with lower fluxes) across two years in the Canadian Arctic. Benthic remineralisation function was measured as fluxes of oxygen, silicic acid, phosphate, nitrate and nitrite at the sediment-water interface. In addition we determined sediment pigment concentration and taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity. To separate temporal from spatial variability, we sampled the same nine sites from the Mackenzie Shelf to Baffin Bay during the same season (summer or fall) in 2008 and 2009. We observed that temporal variability of benthic remineralisation function at hotspots is higher than at coldspots and that taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity did not change significantly between years. Temporal variability of food availability (i.e., sediment surface pigment concentration) seemed higher at coldspot than at hotspot areas. Sediment chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration, taxonomic richness, total abundance, water depth and abundance of the largest gallery-burrowing polychaete Lumbrineris tetraura together explained 42% of the total variation in fluxes. Food supply proxies (i.e., sediment Chl a and depth) split hot- from coldspot stations and explained variation on the axis of temporal variability, and macrofaunal community parameters explained variation mostly along the axis separating eastern from western sites with hot- or coldspot regimes. We conclude that variability in benthic remineralisation function, food supply and diversity will react to climate change on different time scales, and that their interactive effects may hide the detection of progressive change, particularly at hotspots. Time-series of benthic functions and its related parameters should be conducted at both hot- and coldspots to produce reliable predictive models.
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Pro- and eukaryotic microbes associated with multi-cellular organisms are receiving increasing attention as a driving factor in ecosystems. Endophytes in plants can change host performance by altering nutrient uptake, secondary metabolite production or defense mechanisms. Recent studies detected widespread prevalence of Labyrinthula zosterae in European Zostera marina meadows, a protist that allegedly caused a massive amphi-Atlantic seagrass die-off event in the 1930's, while showing only limited virulence today. As a limiting factor for pathogenicity, we investigated genotype×genotype interactions of host and pathogen from different regions (10–100 km-scale) through reciprocal infection. Although the endophyte rapidly infected Z. marina, we found little evidence that Z. marina was negatively impacted by L. zosterae. Instead Z. marina showed enhanced leaf growth and kept endophyte abundance low. Moreover, we found almost no interaction of protist×eelgrass-origin on different parameters of L. zosterae virulence/Z. marina performance, and also no increase in mortality after experimental infection. In a target gene approach, we identified a significant down-regulation in the expression of 6/11 genes from the defense cascade of Z. marina after real-time quantitative PCR, revealing strong immune modulation of the host's defense by a potential parasite for the first time in a marine plant. Nevertheless, one gene involved in phenol synthesis was strongly up-regulated, indicating that Z. marina plants were probably able to control the level of infection. There was no change in expression in a general stress indicator gene (HSP70). Mean L. zosterae abundances decreased below 10% after 16 days of experimental runtime. We conclude that under non-stress conditions L. zosterae infection in the study region is not associated with substantial virulence.
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2015-10-01
    Description: The recent invasion of the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi into northern European waters is of major public and scientific concern. One of the key features making M. leidyi a successful invader is its high fecundity combined with fast growth rates. However, little is known about physiological limitations to its reproduction and consequent possible abiotic restrictions to its dispersal. To evaluate the invasion potential of M. leidyi into the brackish Baltic Sea we studied in situ egg production rates in different regions and at different salinities in the laboratory, representing the salinity gradient of the Baltic Sea. During October 2009 M. leidyi actively reproduced over large areas of the Baltic Sea. Egg production rates scaled with animal size but decreased significantly with decreasing salinity, both in the field (7–29) and in laboratory experiments (6–33). Temperature and zooplankton, i.e. food abundance, could not explain the observed differences. Reproduction rates at conditions representing the Kattegat, south western and central Baltic Sea, respectively, were 2.8 fold higher at the highest salinities (33 and 25) than at intermediate salinities (10 and 15) and 21 times higher compared from intermediate to the lowest salinity tested (6). Higher salinity areas such as the Kattegat, and to a lower extent the south western Baltic, seem to act as source regions for the M. leidyi population in the central Baltic Sea where a self-sustaining population, due to the low salinity, cannot be maintained.
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2016-02-08
    Description: The candidate phylum Poribacteria is one of the most dominant and widespread members of the microbial communities residing within marine sponges. Cell compartmentalization had been postulated along with their discovery about a decade ago and their phylogenetic association to the Planctomycetes, Verrucomicrobia, Chlamydiae superphylum was proposed soon thereafter. In the present study we revised these features based on genomic data obtained from six poribacterial single cells. We propose that Poribacteria form a distinct monophyletic phylum contiguous to the PVC superphylum together with other candidate phyla. Our genomic analyses supported the possibility of cell compartmentalization in form of bacterial microcompartments. Further analyses of eukaryote-like protein domains stressed the importance of such proteins with features including tetratricopeptide repeats, leucin rich repeats as well as low density lipoproteins receptor repeats, the latter of which are reported here for the first time from a sponge symbiont. Finally, examining the most abundant protein domain family on poribacterial genomes revealed diverse phyH family proteins, some of which may be related to dissolved organic posphorus uptake.
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Concerns about increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and global warming have initiated studies on the consequences of multiple-stressor interactions on marine organisms and ecosystems. We present a fully-crossed factorial mesocosm study and assess how warming and acidification affect the abundance, body size, and fatty acid composition of copepods as a measure of nutritional quality. The experimental set-up allowed us to determine whether the effects of warming and acidification act additively, synergistically, or antagonistically on the abundance, body size, and fatty acid content of copepods, a major group of lower level consumers in marine food webs. Copepodite (developmental stages 1–5) and nauplii abundance were antagonistically affected by warming and acidification. Higher temperature decreased copepodite and nauplii abundance, while acidification partially compensated for the temperature effect. The abundance of adult copepods was negatively affected by warming. The prosome length of copepods was significantly reduced by warming, and the interaction of warming and CO2 antagonistically affected prosome length. Fatty acid composition was also significantly affected by warming. The content of saturated fatty acids increased, and the ratios of the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic- (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) to total fatty acid content increased with higher temperatures. Additionally, here was a significant additive interaction effect of both parameters on arachidonic acid. Our results indicate that in a future ocean scenario, acidification might partially counteract some observed effects of increased temperature on zooplankton, while adding to others. These may be results of a fertilizing effect on phytoplankton as a copepod food source. In summary, copepod populations will be more strongly affected by warming rather than by acidifying oceans, but ocean acidification effects can modify some temperature impacts
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: How fisheries will be impacted by climate change is far from understood. While some fish populations may be able to escape global warming via range shifts, they cannot escape ocean acidification (OA), an inevitable consequence of the dissolution of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in marine waters. How ocean acidification affects population dynamics of commercially important fish species is critical for adapting management practices of exploited fish populations. Ocean acidification has been shown to impair fish larvae’s sensory abilities, affect the morphology of otoliths, cause tissue damage and cause behavioural changes. Here, we obtain first experimental mortality estimates for Atlantic cod larvae under OA and incorporate these effects into recruitment models. End-of-century levels of ocean acidification (~1100 μatm according to the IPCC RCP 8.5) resulted in a doubling of daily mortality rates compared to present-day CO2 concentrations during the first 25 days post hatching (dph), a critical phase for population recruitment. These results were consistent under different feeding regimes, stocking densities and in two cod populations (Western Baltic and Barents Sea stock). When mortality data were included into Ricker-type stock-recruitment models, recruitment was reduced to an average of 8 and 24% of current recruitment for the two populations, respectively. Our results highlight the importance of including vulnerable early life stages when addressing effects of climate change on fish stocks.
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Coccolithophores are a vital part of oceanic phytoplankton assemblages that produce organic matter and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) containing traces of other elements (i.e. Sr and Mg). Their associated carbon export from the euphotic zone to the oceans' interior plays a crucial role in CO2 feedback mechanisms and biogeochemical cycles. The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi has been widely studied as a model organism to understand physiological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes in marine sciences. Here, we show the inter-strain variability in physiological and biogeochemical traits in 13 strains of E. huxleyi from various biogeographical provinces obtained from culture collections commonly used in the literature. Our results demonstrate that inter-strain genetic variability has greater potential to induce larger phenotypic differences than the phenotypic plasticity of single strains cultured under a broad range of variable environmental conditions. The range of variation found in physiological parameters and calcite Sr:Ca highlights the need to reconsider phenotypic variability in paleoproxy calibrations and model parameterizations to adequately translate findings from single strain laboratory experiments to the real ocean.
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2017-07-18
    Description: Megafauna play an important role in benthic ecosystem function and are sensitive indicators of environmental change. Non-invasive monitoring of benthic communities can be accomplished by seafloor imaging. However, manual quantification of megafauna in images is labor-intensive and therefore, this organism size class is often neglected in ecosystem studies. Automated image analysis has been proposed as a possible approach to such analysis, but the heterogeneity of megafaunal communities poses a non-trivial challenge for such automated techniques. Here, the potential of a generalized object detection architecture, referred to as iSIS (intelligent Screening of underwater Image Sequences), for the quantification of a heterogenous group of megafauna taxa is investigated. The iSIS system is tuned for a particular image sequence (i.e. a transect) using a small subset of the images, in which megafauna taxa positions were previously marked by an expert. To investigate the potential of iSIS and compare its results with those obtained from human experts, a group of eight different taxa from one camera transect of seafloor images taken at the Arctic deep-sea observatory HAUSGARTEN is used. The results show that inter-and intra-observer agreements of human experts exhibit considerable variation between the species, with a similar degree of variation apparent in the automatically derived results obtained by iSIS. Whilst some taxa (e. g. Bathycrinus stalks, Kolga hyalina, small white sea anemone) were well detected by iSIS (i.e. overall Sensitivity: 87%, overall Positive Predictive Value: 67%), some taxa such as the small sea cucumber Elpidia heckeri remain challenging, for both human observers and iSIS.
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2017-05-09
    Description: Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters. We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2017-12-21
    Description: A growing body of work on the neuroethology of cubozoans is based largely on the capabilities of the photoreceptive tissues, and it is important to determine the molecular basis of their light sensitivity. The cubozoans rely on 24 special purpose eyes to extract specific information from a complex visual scene to guide their behavior in the habitat. The lens eyes are the most studied photoreceptive structures, and the phototransduction in the photoreceptor cells is based on light sensitive opsin molecules. Opsins are photosensitive transmembrane proteins associated with photoreceptors in eyes, and the amino acid sequence of the opsins determines the spectral properties of the photoreceptors. Here we show that two distinct opsins (Tripedalia cystophora-lens eye expressed opsin and Tripedalia cystophora-neuropil expressed opsin, or Tc-leo and Tc-neo) are expressed in the Tripedalia cystophora rhopalium. Quantitative PCR determined the level of expression of the two opsins, and we found Tc-leo to have a higher amount of expression than Tc-neo. In situ hybridization located Tc-leo expression in the retinal photoreceptors of the lens eyes where the opsin is involved in image formation. Tc-neo is expressed in a confined part of the neuropil and is probably involved in extraocular light sensation, presumably in relation to diurnal activity.
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2013-11-04
    Description: As a consequence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, oceans are becoming more acidic, a phenomenon known as ocean acidification. Many marine species predicted to be sensitive to this stressor are photosymbiotic, including corals and foraminifera. However, the direct impact of ocean acidification on the relationship between the photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic organism remains unclear and is complicated by other physiological processes known to be sensitive to ocean acidification (e.g. calcification and feeding). We have studied the impact of extreme pH decrease/pCO2 increase on the complete life cycle of the photosymbiotic, non-calcifying and pure autotrophic acoel worm, Symsagittifera roscoffensis. Our results show that this species is resistant to high pCO2 with no negative or even positive effects on fitness (survival, growth, fertility) and/or photosymbiotic relationship till pCO2 up to 54 K µatm. Some sub-lethal bleaching is only observed at pCO2 up to 270 K µatm when seawater is saturated by CO2. This indicates that photosymbiosis can be resistant to high pCO2. If such a finding would be confirmed in other photosymbiotic species, we could then hypothesize that negative impact of high pCO2 observed on other photosymbiotic species such as corals and foraminifera could occur through indirect impacts at other levels (calcification, feeding).
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  • 26
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Unicellular, diazotrophic cyanobacteria temporally separate dinitrogen (N-2) fixation and photosynthesis to prevent inactivation of the nitrogenase by oxygen. This temporal segregation is regulated by a circadian clock with oscillating activities of N-2 fixation in the dark and photosynthesis in the light. On the population level, this separation is not always complete, since the two processes can overlap during transitions from dark to light. How do single cells avoid inactivation of nitrogenase during these periods? One possibility is that phenotypic heterogeneity in populations leads to segregation of the two processes. Here, we measured N-2 fixation and photosynthesis of individual cells using nanometer-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) to assess both processes in a culture of the unicellular, diazotrophic cyanobacterium Crocosphaera watsonii during a dark-light and a continuous light phase. We compared single-cell rates with bulk rates and gene expression profiles. During the regular dark and light phases, C. watsonii exhibited the temporal segregation of N-2 fixation and photosynthesis commonly observed. However, N-2 fixation and photosynthesis were concurrently measurable at the population level during the subjective dark phase in which cells were kept in the light rather than returned to the expected dark phase. At the single-cell level, though, cells discriminated against either one of the two processes. Cells that showed high levels of photosynthesis had low nitrogen fixing activities, and vice versa. These results suggest that, under ambiguous environmental signals, single cells discriminate against either photosynthesis or nitrogen fixation, and thereby might reduce costs associated with running incompatible processes in the same cell.
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Ecological immunology relies on variation in resistance to parasites. Colonies of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris vary in their susceptibility to the trypanosome gut parasite Crithidia bombi, which reduces colony fitness. To understand the possible origin of this variation in resistance we assayed the expression of 28 immunologically important genes in foraging workers. We deliberately included natural variation of the host “environment” by using bees from colonies collected in two locations and sampling active foraging workers that were not age controlled. Immune gene expression patterns in response to C. bombi showed remarkable variability even among genetically similar sisters. Nevertheless, expression varied with parasite exposure, among colonies and, perhaps surprisingly, strongly among populations (collection sites). While only the antimicrobial peptide abaecin is universally up regulated upon exposure, linear discriminant analysis suggests that the overall exposure effect is driven by a combination of several immune pathways and further immune functions such as ROS regulation. Also, the differences among colonies in their immune gene expression profiles provide clues to the mechanistic basis of well-known inter-colony variation in susceptibility to this parasite. Our results show that transcriptional responses to parasite exposure can be detected in ecologically heterogeneous groups despite strong background noise.
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Bacteria of the genus Vibrio occur at a continuum from free-living to symbiotic life forms, including opportunists and pathogens, that can contribute to severe diseases, for instance summer mortality events of Pacific oysters Crassostrea gigas. While most studies focused on Vibrio isolated from moribund oysters during mortality outbreaks, investigations of the Vibrio community in healthy oysters are rare. Therefore, we characterized the persistence, diversity, seasonal dynamics, and pathogenicity of the Vibrio community isolated from healthy Pacific oysters. In a reciprocal transplant experiment we repeatedly sampled hemolymph from adult Pacific oysters to differentiate population from site-specific effects during six months of in situ incubation in the field. We characterized virulence phenotypes and genomic diversity based on multilocus sequence typing in a total of 70 Vibrio strains. Based on controlled infection experiments we could show that strains with the ability to colonize healthy adult oysters can also have the potential to induce high mortality rates on larvae. Diversity and abundance of Vibrio varied significantly over time with highest values during and after spawning season. Vibrio communities from transplanted and stationary oysters converged over time, indicating that communities were not population specific, but rather assemble from the surrounding environment forming communities, some of which can persist over longer periods
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  • 29
    Publication Date: 2017-06-21
    Description: Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected to impact pelagic ecosystem functioning in the near future by driving ocean warming and acidification. While numerous studies have investigated impacts of rising temperature and seawater acidification on planktonic organisms separately, little is presently known on their combined effects. To test for possible synergistic effects we exposed two coccolithophore species, Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica, to a CO2 gradient ranging from ,0.5–250 mmol kg21 (i.e. ,20–6000 matm pCO2) at three different temperatures (i.e. 10, 15, 20uC for E. huxleyi and 15, 20, 25uC for G. oceanica). Both species showed CO2-dependent optimum-curve responses for growth, photosynthesis and calcification rates at all temperatures. Increased temperature generally enhanced growth and production rates and modified sensitivities of metabolic processes to increasing CO2. CO2 optimum concentrations for growth, calcification, and organic carbon fixation rates were only marginally influenced from low to intermediate temperatures. However, there was a clear optimum shift towards higher CO2 concentrations from intermediate to high temperatures in both species. Our results demonstrate that the CO2 concentration where optimum growth, calcification and carbon fixation rates occur is modulated by temperature. Thus, the response of a coccolithophore strain to ocean acidification at a given temperature can be negative, neutral or positive depending on that strain’s temperature optimum. This emphasizes that the cellular responses of coccolithophores to ocean acidification can only be judged accurately when interpreted in the proper eco-physiological context of a given strain or species. Addressing the synergistic effects of changing carbonate chemistry and temperature is an essential step when assessing the success of coccolithophores in the future ocean.
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  • 30
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Diatoms can occur as single cells or as chain-forming aggregates. These two strategies affect buoyancy, predator evasion, light absorption and nutrient uptake. Adjacent cells in chains establish connections through various processes that determine strength and flexibility of the bonds, and at distinct cellular locations defining colony structure. Chain length has been found to vary with temperature and nutrient availability as well as being positively correlated with growth rate. However, the potential effect of enhanced carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and consequent changes in seawater carbonate chemistry on chain formation is virtually unknown. Here we report on experiments with semi-continuous cultures of the freshly isolated diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis grown under increasing CO2 levels ranging from 320 to 3400 mu atm. We show that the number of cells comprising a chain, and therefore chain length, increases with rising CO2 concentrations. We also demonstrate that while cell division rate changes with CO2 concentrations, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cellular quotas vary proportionally, evident by unchanged organic matter ratios. Finally, beyond the optimum CO2 concentration for growth, carbon allocation changes from cellular storage to increased exudation of dissolved organic carbon. The observed structural adjustment in colony size could enable growth at high CO2 levels, since longer, spiral-shaped chains are likely to create microclimates with higher pH during the light period. Moreover increased chain length of Asterionellopsis glacialis may influence buoyancy and, consequently, affect competitive fitness as well as sinking rates. This would potentially impact the delicate balance between the microbial loop and export of organic matter, with consequences for atmospheric carbon dioxide.
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  • 31
    Publication Date: 2014-04-22
    Description: Ocean acidification is considered a major threat to marine ecosystems and may particularly affect calcifying organisms such as corals, foraminifera and coccolithophores. Here we investigate the impact of elevated pCO2 and lowered pH on growth and calcification in the common calcareous dinoflagellate Thoracosphaera heimii. We observe a substantial reduction in growth rate, calcification and cyst stability of T. heimii under elevated pCO2. Furthermore, transcriptomic analyses reveal CO2 sensitive regulation of many genes, particularly those being associated to inorganic carbon acquisition and calcification. Stable carbon isotope fractionation for organic carbon production increased with increasing pCO2 whereas it decreased for calcification, which suggests interdependence between both processes. We also found a strong effect of pCO2 on the stable oxygen isotopic composition of calcite, in line with earlier observations concerning another T. heimii strain. The observed changes in stable oxygen and carbon isotope composition of T. heimii cysts may provide an ideal tool for reconstructing past seawater carbonate chemistry, and ultimately past pCO2. Although the function of calcification in T. heimii remains unresolved, this trait likely plays an important role in the ecological and evolutionary success of this species. Acting on calcification as well as growth, ocean acidification may therefore impose a great threat for T. heimii.
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  • 32
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Vertebrate innate immunity is the first line of defense against an invading pathogen and has long been assumed to be largely unspecific with respect to parasite/pathogen species. However, recent phenotypic evidence suggests that immunogenetic variation, i.e. allelic variability in genes associated with the immune system, results in host-parasite genotype-by-genotype interactions and thus specific innate immune responses. Immunogenetic variation is common in all vertebrate taxa and this reflects an effective immunological function in complex environments. However, the underlying variability in host gene expression patterns as response of innate immunity to within-species genetic diversity of macroparasites in vertebrates is unknown. We hypothesized that intra-specific variation among parasite genotypes must be reflected in host gene expression patterns. Here we used high-throughput RNA-sequencing to examine the effect of parasite genotypes on gene expression patterns of a vertebrate host, the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). By infecting naïve fish with distinct trematode genotypes of the species Diplostomum pseudospathaceum we show that gene activity of innate immunity in three-spined sticklebacks depended on the identity of an infecting macroparasite genotype. In addition to a suite of genes indicative for a general response against the trematode we also find parasite-strain specific gene expression, in particular in the complement system genes, despite similar infection rates of single clone treatments. The observed discrepancy between infection rates and gene expression indicates the presence of alternative pathways which execute similar functions. This suggests that the innate immune system can induce redundant responses specific to parasite genotypes.
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  • 33
    Publication Date: 2017-04-13
    Description: While the isolated responses of marine phytoplankton to climate warming and to ocean acidification have been studied intensively, studies on the combined effect of both aspects of Global Change are still scarce. Therefore, we performed a mesocosm experiment with a factorial combination of temperature (9 and 15°C) and pCO2 (means: 439 ppm and 1040 ppm) with a natural autumn plankton community from the western Baltic Sea. Temporal trajectories of total biomass and of the biomass of the most important higher taxa followed similar patterns in all treatments. When averaging over the entire time course, phytoplankton biomass decreased with warming and increased with CO2 under warm conditions. The contribution of the two dominant higher phytoplankton taxa (diatoms and cryptophytes) and of the 4 most important species (3 diatoms, 1 cryptophyte) did not respond to the experimental treatments. Taxonomic composition of phytoplankton showed only responses at the level of subdominant and rare species. Phytoplankton cell sizes increased with CO2 addition and decreased with warming. Both effects were stronger for larger species. Warming effects were stronger than CO2 effects and tended to counteract each other. Phytoplankton communities without calcifying species and exposed to short-term variation of CO2 seem to be rather resistant to ocean acidification.
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  • 34
    Publication Date: 2015-12-16
    Description: Benthic suspension feeding mussels are an important functional guild in coastal and estua-rine ecosystems. To date we lack information on how various environmental gradients and biotic interactions separately and interactively shape the distribution patterns of mussels in non-tidal environments. Opposing to tidal environments, mussels inhabit solely subtidal zone in non-tidal waterbodies and, thereby, driving factors for mussel populations are expected to differ from the tidal areas. In the present study, we used the boosted regression tree modelling (BRT), an ensemble method for statistical techniques and machine learning, in order to explain the distribution and biomass of the suspension feeding mussel Mytilus trossulus in the non-tidal Baltic Sea. BRT models suggested that (1) distribution patterns of M. trossulus are largely driven by separate effects of direct environmental gradients and partly by interactive effects of resource gradients with direct environmental gradients. (2) Within its suitable habitat range, however, resource gradients had an important role in shaping the biomass distribution of M. trossulus. (3) Contrary to tidal areas, mussels were not competitively superior over macrophytes with patterns indicating either facilitative interactions between mussels and macrophytes or co-variance due to common stressor. To conclude, direct environmental gradients seem to define the distribution pattern of M. trossulus, and within the favourable distribution range, resource gradients in interaction with direct environmental gradients are expected to set the biomass level of mussels.
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  • 35
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: During the winter of 2006 we measured nifH gene abundances, dinitrogen (N2) fixation rates and carbon fixation rates in the eastern tropical and sub-tropical North Atlantic Ocean. The dominant diazotrophic phylotypes were filamentous cyanobacteria, which may include Trichodesmium and Katagnymene, with up to 106 L−1 nifH gene copies, unicellular group A cyanobacteria with up to 105 L−1 nifH gene copies and gamma A proteobacteria with up to 104 L−1 nifH gene copies. N2 fixation rates were low and ranged between 0.032–1.28 nmol N L−1 d−1 with a mean of 0.30±0.29 nmol N L−1 d−1 (1σ, n = 65). CO2-fixation rates, representing primary production, appeared to be nitrogen limited as suggested by low dissolved inorganic nitrogen to phosphate ratios (DIN:DIP) of about 2±3.2 in surface waters. Nevertheless, N2 fixation rates contributed only 0.55±0.87% (range 0.03–5.24%) of the N required for primary production. Boosted regression trees analysis (BRT) showed that the distribution of the gamma A proteobacteria and filamentous cyanobacteria nifH genes was mainly predicted by the distribution of Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, picoeukaryotes and heterotrophic bacteria. In addition, BRT indicated that multiple a-biotic environmental variables including nutrients DIN, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and DIP, trace metals like dissolved aluminum (DAl), as a proxy of dust inputs, dissolved iron (DFe) and Fe-binding ligands as well as oxygen and temperature influenced N2 fixation rates and the distribution of the dominant diazotrophic phylotypes. Our results suggest that lower predicted oxygen concentrations and higher temperatures due to climate warming may increase N2 fixation rates. However, the balance between a decreased supply of DIP and DFe from deep waters as a result of more pronounced stratification and an enhanced supply of these nutrients with a predicted increase in deposition of Saharan dust may ultimately determine the consequences of climate warming for N2 fixation in the North Atlantic.
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  • 36
    Publication Date: 2015-01-12
    Description: Biofilms play an important role as a settlement cue for invertebrate larvae and significantly contribute to the nutrient turnover in aquatic ecosystems. Nevertheless, little is known about how biofilm community structure generally responds to environmental changes. This study aimed to identify patterns of bacterial dynamics in coral reef biofilms in response to associated macrofouling community structure, microhabitat (exposed vs. sheltered), seasonality, and eutrophication. Settlement tiles were deployed at four reefs along a cross-shelf eutrophication gradient and were exchanged every 4 months over 20 months. The fouling community composition on the tiles was recorded and the bacterial community structure was assessed with the community fingerprinting technique Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA). Bacterial operational taxonomic unit (OTU) number was higher on exposed tiles, where the fouling community was homogenous and algae-dominated, than in sheltered habitats, which were occupied by a variety of filter feeders. Furthermore, OTU number was also highest in eutrophied near-shore reefs, while seasonal variations in community structure were most pronounced in the oligotrophic mid-shelf reef. In contrast, the macrofouling community structure did not change significantly with seasons. Changes in bacterial community patterns were mostly affected by microhabitat, seasonal and anthropogenically derived changes in nutrient availability, and to a lesser extent by changes in the macrofouling community structure. Path analysis revealed a complex interplay of various environmental and biological factors explaining the spatial and temporal variations in bacterial biofilm communities under natural conditions.
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  • 37
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    In:  PLoS ONE, 7 (9). e45124.
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: In the recent discussion how biotic systems may react to ocean acidification caused by the rapid rise in carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) in the marine realm, substantial research is devoted to calcifiers such as stony corals. The antagonistic process – biologically induced carbonate dissolution via bioerosion – has largely been neglected. Unlike skeletal growth, we expect bioerosion by chemical means to be facilitated in a high-CO2 world. This study focuses on one of the most detrimental bioeroders, the sponge Cliona orientalis, which attacks and kills live corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Experimental exposure to lowered and elevated levels of pCO2 confirms a significant enforcement of the sponges’ bioerosion capacity with increasing pCO2 under more acidic conditions. Considering the substantial contribution of sponges to carbonate bioerosion, this finding implies that tropical reef ecosystems are facing the combined effects of weakened coral calcification and accelerated bioerosion, resulting in critical pressure on the dynamic balance between biogenic carbonate build-up and degradation.
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  • 38
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    In:  PLoS ONE, 7 (11). e49632.
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Decreasing body size has been suggested as the third universal biological response to global warming after latitudinal/altitudinal range shifts and shifts in phenology. Size shifts in a community can be the composite result of intraspecific size shifts and of shifts between differently sized species. Metabolic explanations for the size shifts dominate in the literature but top down effects, i.e. intensified size-selective consumption at higher temperatures, have been proposed as alternative explanation. Therefore, we performed phytoplankton experiments with a factorial combination of warming and consumer type (protist feeding mainly on small algae vs. copepods mainly feeding on large algae). Natural phytoplankton was exposed to 3 (1st experiment) or 4 (2nd experiment) temperature levels and 3 (1st experiment: nano-, microzooplankton, copepods) or 2 (2nd experiment: microzooplankton, copepods) types of consumers. Size shifts of individual phytoplankton species and community mean size were analyzed. Both, mean cell size of most of the individual species and mean community cell size decreased with temperature under all grazing regimes. Grazing by copepods caused an additional reduction in cell size. Our results reject the hypothesis, that intensified size selective consumption at higher temperature would be the dominant explanation of decreasing body size. In this case, the size reduction would have taken place only in the copepod treatments but not in the treatments with protist grazing (nano- and microzooplankton).
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  • 39
    Publication Date: 2018-01-22
    Description: Background: The shrimp Rimicaris exoculata dominates the faunal biomass at many deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In its enlarged gill chamber it harbors a specialized epibiotic bacterial community for which a nutritional role has been proposed. Methodology/Principal Findings: We analyzed specimens from the Snake Pit hydrothermal vent field on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge by complementing a 16S rRNA gene survey with the analysis of genes involved in carbon, sulfur and hydrogen metabolism. In addition to Epsilon- and Gammaproteobacteria, the epibiotic community unexpectedly also consists of Deltaproteobacteria of a single phylotype, closely related to the genus Desulfocapsa. The association of these phylogenetic groups with the shrimp was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Based on functional gene analyses, we hypothesize that the Gamma- and Epsilonproteobacteria are capable of autotrophic growth by oxidizing reduced sulfur compounds, and that the Deltaproteobacteria are also involved in sulfur metabolism. In addition, the detection of proteobacterial hydrogenases indicates the potential for hydrogen oxidation in these communities. Interestingly, the frequency of these phylotypes in 16S rRNA gene clone libraries from the mouthparts differ from that of the inner lining of the gill chamber, indicating potential functional compartmentalization. Conclusions: Our data show the specific association of autotrophic bacteria with Rimicaris exoculata from the Snake Pit hydrothermal vent field, and suggest that autotrophic carbon fixation is contributing to the productivity of the epibiotic community with the reductive tricarboxylic acid cycle as one important carbon fixation pathway. This has not been considered in previous studies of carbon fixation and stable carbon isotope composition of the shrimp and its epibionts. Furthermore, the co-occurrence of sulfur-oxidizing and sulfur-reducing epibionts raises the possibility that both may be involved in the syntrophic exchange of sulfur compounds, which could increase the overall efficiency of this epibiotic community.
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  • 40
    Publication Date: 2018-12-11
    Description: Our present understanding of ocean acidification (OA) impacts on marine organisms caused by rapidly rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration is almost entirely limited to single species responses. OA consequences for food web interactions are, however, still unknown. Indirect OA effects can be expected for consumers by changing the nutritional quality of their prey. We used a laboratory experiment to test potential OA effects on algal fatty acid (FA) composition and resulting copepod growth. We show that elevated CO2 significantly changed the FA concentration and composition of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana, which constrained growth and reproduction of the copepod Acartia tonsa. A significant decline in both total FAs (28.1 to 17.4 fg cell−1) and the ratio of long-chain polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids (PUFA:SFA) of food algae cultured under elevated (750 µatm) compared to present day (380 µatm) pCO2 was directly translated to copepods. The proportion of total essential FAs declined almost tenfold in copepods and the contribution of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) tripled at high CO2. This rapid and reversible CO2-dependent shift in FA concentration and composition caused a decrease in both copepod somatic growth and egg production from 34 to 5 eggs female−1 day−1. Because the diatom-copepod link supports some of the most productive ecosystems in the world, our study demonstrates that OA can have far-reaching consequences for ocean food webs by changing the nutritional quality of essential macromolecules in primary producers that cascade up the food web.
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  • 41
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    In:  PLoS ONE, 8 (9). e71528.
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Shrinking of body size has been proposed as one of the universal responses of organisms to global climate warming. Using phytoplankton as an experimental model system has supported the negative effect of warming on body-size, but it remains controversial whether the size reduction under increasing temperatures is a direct temperature effect or an indirect effect mediated over changes in size selective grazing or enhanced nutrient limitation which should favor smaller cell-sizes. Here we present an experiment with a factorial combination of temperature and nutrient stress which shows that most of the temperature effects on phytoplankton cell size are mediated via nutrient stress. This was found both for community mean cell size and for the cell sizes of most species analyzed. At the highest level of nutrient stress, community mean cell size decreased by 46% per degrees C, while it decreased only by 4.7% at the lowest level of nutrient stress. Individual species showed qualitatively the same trend, but shrinkage per degrees C was smaller. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that temperature effects on cell size are to a great extent mediated by nutrient limitation. This effect is expected to be exacerbated under field conditions, where higher temperatures of the surface waters reduce the vertical nutrient transport.
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  • 42
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Particulate matter export fuels benthic ecosystems in continental margins and the deep sea, removing carbon from the upper ocean. Gelatinous zooplankton biomass provides a fast carbon vector that has been poorly studied. Observational data of a large-scale benthic trawling survey from 1994 to 2005 provided a unique opportunity to quantify jelly-carbon along an entire continental margin in the Mediterranean Sea and to assess potential links with biological and physical variables. Biomass depositions were sampled in shelves, slopes and canyons with peaks above 1000 carcasses per trawl, translating to standing stock values between 0.3 and 1.4 mg C m2 after trawling and integrating between 30,000 and 175,000 m2 of seabed. The benthopelagic jelly-carbon spatial distribution from the shelf to the canyons may be explained by atmospheric forcing related with NAO events and dense shelf water cascading, which are both known from the open Mediterranean. Over the decadal scale, we show that the jelly-carbon depositions temporal variability paralleled hydroclimate modifications, and that the enhanced jelly-carbon deposits are connected to a temperature-driven system where chlorophyll plays a minor role. Our results highlight the importance of gelatinous groups as indicators of large-scale ecosystem change, where jelly-carbon depositions play an important role in carbon and energy transport to benthic systems.
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  • 43
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Quantifying the scale and importance of individual dispersion between populations and life stages is a key challenge in marine ecology. The common sole (Solea solea), an important commercial flatfish in the North Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has a marine pelagic larval stage, a benthic juvenile stage in coastal nurseries (lagoons, estuaries or shallow marine areas) and a benthic adult stage in deeper marine waters on the continental shelf. To date, the ecological connectivity among these life stages has been little assessed in the Mediterranean. Here, such an assessment is provided for the first time for the Gulf of Lions, NW Mediterranean, based on a dataset on otolith microchemistry and stable isotopic composition as indicators of the water masses inhabited by individual fish. Specifically, otolith Ba/Ca and Sr/Ca profiles, and delta C-13 and delta O-18 values of adults collected in four areas of the Gulf of Lions were compared with those of young-of-the-year collected in different coastal nurseries. Results showed that a high proportion of adults (〉46%) were influenced by river inputs during their larval stage. Furthermore Sr/Ca ratios and the otolith length at one year of age revealed that most adults (similar to 70%) spent their juvenile stage in nurseries with high salinity, whereas the remainder used brackish environments. In total, data were consistent with the use of six nursery types, three with high salinity (marine areas and two types of highly saline lagoons) and three brackish (coastal areas near river mouths, and two types of brackish environments), all of which contributed to the replenishment of adult populations. These finding implicated panmixia in sole population in the Gulf of Lions and claimed for a habitat integrated management of fisheries
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  • 44
    Publication Date: 2017-06-22
    Description: Algal symbionts (zooxanthellae, genus Symbiodinium) of scleractinian corals respond strongly to temperature, nutrient and light changes. These factors vary greatly along the north-south gradient in the Red Sea and include conditions, which are outside of those typically considered optimal for coral growth. Nevertheless, coral communities thrive throughout the Red Sea, suggesting that zooxanthellae have successfully acclimatized or adapted to the harsh conditions they experience particularly in the south (high temperatures and high nutrient supply). As such, the Red Sea is a region, which may help to better understand how zooxanthellae and their coral hosts successfully acclimatize or adapt to environmental change (e.g. increased temperatures and localized eutrophication). To gain further insight into the physiology of coral symbionts in the Red Sea, we examined the abundance of dominant Symbiodinium types associated with the coral Pocillopora verrucosa, and measured Symbiodinium physiological characteristics (i.e. photosynthetic processes, cell density, pigmentation, and protein composition) along the latitudinal gradient of the Red Sea in summer and winter. Despite the strong environmental gradients from north to south, our results demonstrate that Symbiodinium microadriaticum (type A1) was the predominant species in P. verrucosa along the latitudinal gradient. Furthermore, measured physiological characteristics were found to vary more with prevailing seasonal environmental conditions than with region-specific differences, although the measured environmental parameters displayed much higher spatial than temporal variability. We conclude that our findings might present the result of long-term acclimatization or adaptation of S. microadriaticum to regionally specific conditions within the Red Sea. Of additional note, high nutrients in the South correlated with high zooxanthellae density indicating a compensation for a temperature-driven loss of photosynthetic performance, which may prove promising for the resilience of these corals under increase of temperature increase and eutrophication.
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  • 45
    Publication Date: 2016-01-14
    Description: Ocean acidification (OA) can have adverse effects on marine calcifiers. Yet, phototrophic marine calcifiers elevate their external oxygen and pH microenvironment in daylight, through the uptake of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) by photosynthesis. We studied to which extent pH elevation within their microenvironments in daylight can counteract ambient seawater pH reductions, i.e. OA conditions. We measured the O2 and pH microenvironment of four photosymbiotic and two symbiont-free benthic tropical foraminiferal species at three different OA treatments (∼432, 1141 and 2151 µatm pCO2). The O2 concentration difference between the seawater and the test surface (ΔO2) was taken as a measure for the photosynthetic rate. Our results showed that O2 and pH levels were significantly higher on photosymbiotic foraminiferal surfaces in light than in dark conditions, and than on surfaces of symbiont-free foraminifera. Rates of photosynthesis at saturated light conditions did not change significantly between OA treatments (except in individuals that exhibited symbiont loss, i.e. bleaching, at elevated pCO2). The pH at the cell surface decreased during incubations at elevated pCO2, also during light incubations. Photosynthesis increased the surface pH but this increase was insufficient to compensate for ambient seawater pH decreases. We thus conclude that photosynthesis does only partly protect symbiont bearing foraminifera against OA.
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  • 46
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Herring, Clupea harengus, is one of the ecologically and commercially most important species in European northern seas, where two distinct ecotypes have been described based on spawning time; spring and autumn. To date, it is unknown if these spring and autumn spawning herring constitute genetically distinct units. We assessed levels of genetic divergence between spring and autumn spawning herring in the Baltic Sea using two types of DNA markers, microsatellites and Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, and compared the results with data for autumn spawning North Sea herring. Temporally replicated analyses reveal clear genetic differences between ecotypes and hence support reproductive isolation. Loci showing non-neutral behaviour, so-called outlier loci, show convergence between autumn spawning herring from demographically disjoint populations, potentially reflecting selective processes associated with autumn spawning ecotypes. The abundance and exploitation of the two ecotypes have varied strongly over space and time in the Baltic Sea, where autumn spawners have faced strong depression for decades. The results therefore have practical implications by highlighting the need for specific management of these co-occurring ecotypes to meet requirements for sustainable exploitation and ensure optimal livelihood for coastal communities
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  • 47
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Perennial macroalgae within the genus Fucus are known to exude metabolites through their outer thallus surface. Some of these metabolites have pro- and/or antifouling properties. Seasonal fluctuations of natural fouling pressure and chemical fouling control strength against micro- and macrofoulers have previously been observed in Fucus, suggesting that control strength varies with threat. To date, a study on the seasonal composition of surface associated metabolites, responsible for much of the fouling control, has not been done. We sampled individuals of the two co-occurring species F. vesiculosus and F. serratus at monthly intervals (six per species and month) during a one-year field study. We analysed the chemical composition of surface associated metabolites of both Fucus species by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to describe temporal patterns in chemical surface composition. Additionally, we correlated abiotic and biotic parameters recorded monthly within the sampled habitat with the variation in the chemical surface landscape of Fucus. Our study revealed that the chemical surface composition of both Fucus species exhibits substantial seasonal differences between spring/summer and autumn/winter months. Light and temperature explained most of the seasonal variability in surface metabolite composition of both Fucus species. A strong summerly up-regulation of eighteen saccharides and two hydroxy acids in F. vesiculosus as well as of four fatty acids and two saccharides in F. serratus was observed. We discuss how these up-regulated molecules may have a complex effect on associated microfoulers, both promoting or decreasing fouling depending on metabolite and bacterial identity. These seasonal shifts in the surface metabolome seem to exert a compound control of density and composition of the Fucus associated biofilm.
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  • 48
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Public Library of Science
    In:  PLoS ONE, 9 (8). e106218.
    Publication Date: 2019-01-17
    Description: Sulfurimonas denitrificans was originally isolated from coastal marine sediments. It can grow with thiosulfate and nitrate or sulfide and oxygen. Recently sequencing of its genome revealed that it encodes periplasmic and cytoplasmic [NiFe]-hydrogenases but the role of hydrogen for its metabolism has remained unknown. We show the first experimental evidence that S. denitrificans can indeed express a functional hydrogen uptake active hydrogenase and can grow on hydrogen. In fact, under the provided conditions it grew faster and denser on hydrogen than on thiosulfate alone and even grew with hydrogen in the absence of reduced sulfur compounds. In our experiments, at the time points tested, the hydrogen uptake activity appeared to be related to the periplasmic hydrogenase and not to the cytoplasmic hydrogenase. Our data suggest that under the provided conditions S. denitrificans can grow more efficiently with hydrogen than with thiosulfate.
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  • 49
    Publication Date: 2019-03-05
    Description: Micromonas is a unicellular motile alga within the Prasinophyceae, a green algal group that is related to land plants. This picoeukaryote (〈2 μm diameter) is widespread in the marine environment but is not well understood at the cellular level. Here, we examine shifts in mRNA and protein expression over the course of the day-night cycle using triplicated mid-exponential, nutrient replete cultures of Micromonas pusilla CCMP1545. Samples were collected at key transition points during the diel cycle for evaluation using high-throughput LC-MS proteomics. In conjunction, matched mRNA samples from the same time points were sequenced using pair-ended directional Illumina RNA-Seq to investigate the dynamics and relationship between the mRNA and protein expression programs of M. pusilla. Similar to a prior study of the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus, we found significant divergence in the mRNA and proteomics expression dynamics in response to the light:dark cycle. Additionally, expressional responses of genes and the proteins they encoded could also be variable within the same metabolic pathway, such as we observed in the oxygenic photosynthesis pathway. A regression framework was used to predict protein levels from both mRNA expression and gene-specific sequence-based features. Several features in the genome sequence were found to influence protein abundance including codon usage as well as 3′ UTR length and structure. Collectively, our studies provide insights into the regulation of the proteome over a diel cycle as well as the relationships between transcriptional and translational programs in the widespread marine green alga Micromonas. © 2016, Public Library of Science. All rights reserved. This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
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  • 50
    Publication Date: 2015-03-12
    Description: Sea-ice diatoms are known to accumulate in large aggregates in and under sea ice and in melt ponds. There is recent evidence from the Arctic that such aggregates can contribute substantially to particle export when sinking from the ice. The role and regulation of microbial aggregation in the highly seasonal, nutrient- and light-limited Arctic sea-ice ecosystem is not well understood. To elucidate the mechanisms controlling the formation and export of algal aggregates from sea ice, we investigated samples taken in late summer 2011 and 2012, during two cruises to the Eurasian Basin of the Central Arctic Ocean. Spherical aggregates densely packed with pennate diatoms, as well as filamentous aggregates formed by Melosira arctica showed sign of different stages of degradation and physiological stoichiometries, with carbon to chlorophyll a ratios ranging from 110 to 66700, and carbon to nitrogen molar ratios of 8–35 and 9–40, respectively. Sub-ice algal aggregate densities ranged between 1 and 17 aggregates m−2, maintaining an estimated net primary production of 0.4–40 mg C m−2 d−1, and accounted for 3–80% of total phototrophic biomass and up to 94% of local net primary production. A potential factor controlling the buoyancy of the aggregates was light intensity, regulating photosynthetic oxygen production and the amount of gas bubbles trapped within the mucous matrix, even at low ambient nutrient concentrations. Our data-set was used to evaluate the distribution and importance of Arctic algal aggregates as carbon source for pelagic and benthic communities.
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  • 51
    Publication Date: 2017-04-13
    Description: The unabated rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions is predicted to strongly influence the ocean's environment, increasing the mean sea-surface temperature by 4°C and causing a pH decline of 0.3 units by the year 2100. These changes are likely to affect the nutritional value of marine food sources since temperature and CO2 can influence the fatty (FA) and amino acid (AA) composition of marine primary producers. Here, essential amino (EA) and polyunsaturated fatty (PUFA) acids are of particular importance due to their nutritional value to higher trophic levels. In order to determine the interactive effects of CO2 and temperature on the nutritional quality of a primary producer, we analyzed the relative PUFA and EA composition of the diatom Cylindrotheca fusiformis cultured under a factorial matrix of 2 temperatures (14 and 19°C) and 3 partial pressures of CO2 (180, 380, 750 μatm) for 〉250 generations. Our results show a decay of ∼3% and ∼6% in PUFA and EA content in algae kept at a pCO2 of 750 μatm (high) compared to the 380 μatm (intermediate) CO2 treatments at 14°C. Cultures kept at 19°C displayed a ∼3% lower PUFA content under high compared to intermediate pCO2, while EA did not show differences between treatments. Algae grown at a pCO2 of 180 μatm (low) had a lower PUFA and AA content in relation to those at intermediate and high CO2 levels at 14°C, but there were no differences in EA at 19°C for any CO2 treatment. This study is the first to report adverse effects of warming and acidification on the EA of a primary producer, and corroborates previous observations of negative effects of these stressors on PUFA. Considering that only ∼20% of essential biomolecules such as PUFA (and possibly EA) are incorporated into new biomass at the next trophic level, thepotential impacts of adverse effects of ocean warming and acidification at the base of the food web may be amplified towards higher trophic levels, which rely on them as source of essential biomolecules.
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  • 52
    Publication Date: 2015-07-02
    Description: The phyllosphere of plants is inhabited by diverse microorganisms, however, the factors shaping their community composition are not fully elucidated. The plant cuticle represents the initial contact surface between microorganisms and the plant. We thus aimed to investigate whether mutations in the cuticular wax biosynthesis would affect the diversity of the phyllosphere microbiota. A set of four Arabidopsis thaliana eceriferum mutants (cer1, cer6, cer9, cer16) and their respective wild type (Landsberg erecta) were subjected to an outdoor growth period and analysed towards this purpose. The chemical distinctness of the mutant wax phenotypes was confirmed by gas chromatographic measurements. Next generation amplicon pyrosequencing of the bacterial communities showed distinct community patterns. This observation was supported by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis experiments. Microbial community analyses revealed bacterial phylotypes that were ubiquitously present on all plant lines (termed “core” community) while others were positively or negatively affected by the wax mutant phenotype (termed “plant line-specific“ community). We conclude from this study that plant cuticular wax composition can affect the community composition of phyllosphere bacteria.
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  • 53
    Publication Date: 2017-04-13
    Description: Marine sponge–associated actinomycetes are considered as promising sources for the discovery of novel biologically active compounds. In the present study, a total of 64 actinomycetes were isolated from 12 different marine sponge species that had been collected offshore the islands of Milos and Crete, Greece, eastern Mediterranean. The isolates were affiliated to 23 genera representing 8 different suborders based on nearly full length 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Four putatively novel species belonging to genera Geodermatophilus, Microlunatus, Rhodococcus and Actinomycetospora were identified based on a 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity of 〈 98.5% to currently described strains. Eight actinomycete isolates showed bioactivities against Trypanosma brucei brucei TC221 with half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values 〈20 μg/mL. Thirty four isolates from the Milos collection and 12 isolates from the Crete collection were subjected to metabolomic analysis using high resolution LC-MS and NMR for dereplication purposes. Two isolates belonging to the genera Streptomyces (SBT348) and Micromonospora (SBT687) were prioritized based on their distinct chemistry profiles as well as their anti-trypanosomal activities. These findings demonstrated the feasibility and efficacy of utilizing metabolomics tools to prioritize chemically unique strains from microorganism collections and further highlight sponges as rich source for novel and bioactive actinomycetes.
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  • 54
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Ocean acidification and warming (OAW) are occurring globally. Additionally, at a more local scale the spreading of hypoxic conditions is promoted by eutrophication and warming. In the semi-enclosed brackish Baltic Sea, occasional upwelling in late summer and autumn may expose even shallow-water communities including the macroalga Fucus vesiculosus to particularly acidified, nutrient-rich and oxygen-poor water bodies. During summer 2014 (July–September) sibling groups of early life-stage F. vesiculosus were exposed to OAW in the presence and absence of enhanced nutrient levels and, subsequently to a single upwelling event in a near-natural scenario which included all environmental fluctuations in the Kiel Fjord, southwestern Baltic Sea, Germany (54°27 ´N, 10°11 ´W). We strove to elucidate the single and combined impacts of these potential stressors, and how stress sensitivity varies among genetically different sibling groups. Enhanced by a circumstantial natural heat wave, warming and acidification increased mortalities and reduced growth in F. vesiculosus germlings. This impact, however, was mitigated by enhanced nutrient conditions. Survival under OAW conditions strongly varied among sibling groups hinting at a substantial adaptive potential of the natural Fucus populations in the Western Baltic. A three-day experimental upwelling caused severe mortality of Fucus germlings, which was substantially more severe in those sibling groups which previously had been exposed to OAW. Our results show that global (OAW), regional (nutrient enrichment) and local pressures (upwelling), both alone and co-occurring may have synergistic and antagonistic effects on survival and/or growth of Fucus germlings. This result emphasizes the need to consider combined stress effects.
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  • 55
    Publication Date: 2017-06-19
    Description: Cold-water coral reefs are known to locally enhance the diversity of deep-sea fauna as well as of microbes. Sponges are among the most diverse faunal groups in these ecosystems, and many of them host large abundances of microbes in their tissues. In this study, twelve sponge species from three cold-water coral reefs off Norway were investigated for the relationship between sponge phylogenetic classification (species and family level), as well as sponge type (high versus low microbial abundance), and the diversity of sponge-associated bacterial communities, taking also geographic location and water depth into account. Community analysis by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) showed that as many as 345 (79%) of the 437 different bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) detected in the dataset were shared between sponges and sediments, while only 70 (16%) appeared purely sponge-associated. Furthermore, changes in bacterial community structure were significantly related to sponge species (63% of explained community variation), sponge family (52%) or sponge type (30%), whereas mesoscale geographic distances and water depth showed comparatively small effects (〈5% each). In addition, a highly significant, positive relationship between bacterial community dissimilarity and sponge phylogenetic distance was observed within the ancient family of the Geodiidae. Overall, the high diversity of sponges in cold-water coral reefs, combined with the observed sponge-related variation in bacterial community structure, support the idea that sponges represent heterogeneous, yet structured microbial habitats that contribute significantly to enhancing bacterial diversity in deep-sea ecosystems.
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  • 56
    Publication Date: 2017-06-20
    Description: This study presents the first multi-scale survey of bacterial diversity in cold-water coral reefs, spanning a total of five observational levels including three spatial scales. It demonstrates that bacterial communities in cold-water coral reefs are structured by multiple factors acting at different spatial scales, which has fundamental implications for the monitoring of microbial diversity and function in those ecosystems.
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  • 57
    Publication Date: 2017-06-20
    Description: Investigating the relationship between deep-water coral distribution and seabed topography is important for understanding the terrain habitat selection of these species and for the development of predictive habitat models. In this study, the distribution of the deep-water gorgonians, Paragorgia arborea and Primnoa resedaeformis, in relation to terrain variables at multiple scales of 30 m, 90 m and 170 m were investigated at Røst Reef, Traena Reef and Sotbakken Reef on the Norwegian margin, with Ecological Niche Factor Analysis applied. To date, there have been few published studies investigating this aspect of gorgonian distribution. A similar correlation between the distribution of P. arborea and P. resedaeformis and each particular terrain variable was found at each study site, but the strength of the correlation between each variable and distribution differed by reef. The terrain variables of bathymetric position index (BPI) and curvature at analysis scales of 90 m or 170 m were most strongly linked to the distribution of both species at the three geographically distinct study sites. Both gorgonian species tended to inhabit local topographic highs across all three sites, particularly at Sotbakken Reef and Traena Reef, with both species observed almost exclusively on such topographic highs. The tendency for observed P. arborea to inhabit ridge crests at Røst Reef was much greater than was indicated for P. resedaeformis. This investigation identifies the terrain variables which most closely correlate with distribution of these two gorgonian species, and analyzes their terrain habitat selection; further development of predictive habitat models may be considered essential for effective management of these species.
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  • 58
    facet.materialart.
    Unknown
    Public Library of Science
    In:  PLoS ONE, 8 (6). e66442.
    Publication Date: 2018-03-15
    Description: All known photoreceptor cells adapt to constant light stimuli, fading the retinal image when exposed to an immobile visual scene. Counter strategies are therefore necessary to prevent blindness, and in mammals this is accomplished by fixational eye movements. Cubomedusae occupy a key position for understanding the evolution of complex visual systems and their eyes are assumedly subject to the same adaptive problems as the vertebrate eye, but lack motor control of their visual system. The morphology of the visual system of cubomedusae ensures a constant orientation of the eyes and a clear division of the visual field, but thereby also a constant retinal image when exposed to stationary visual scenes. Here we show that bell contractions used for swimming in the medusae refresh the retinal image in the upper lens eye of Tripedalia cystophora. This strongly suggests that strategies comparable to fixational eye movements have evolved at the earliest metazoan stage to compensate for the intrinsic property of the photoreceptors. Since the timing and amplitude of the rhopalial movements concur with the spatial and temporal resolution of the eye it circumvents the need for post processing in the central nervous system to remove image blur.
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  • 59
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: Coral reefs in the central Red Sea are sparsely studied and in situ data on physico-chemical and key biotic variables that provide an important comparative baseline are missing. To address this gap, we simultaneously monitored three reefs along a cross-shelf gradient for an entire year over four seasons, collecting data on currents, temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen (DO), chlorophyll-a, turbidity, inorganic nutrients, sedimentation, bacterial communities of reef water, and bacterial and algal composition of epilithic biofilms. Summer temperature (29–33°C) and salinity (39 PSU) exceeded average global maxima for coral reefs, whereas DO concentration was low (2–4 mg L-1). While temperature and salinity differences were most pronounced between seasons, DO, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and sedimentation varied most between reefs. Similarly, biotic communities were highly dynamic between reefs and seasons. Differences in bacterial biofilms were driven by four abundant families: Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae, Flammeovirgaceae, and Pseudanabaenaceae. In algal biofilms, green crusts, brown crusts, and crustose coralline algae were most abundant and accounted for most of the variability of the communities. Higher bacterial diversity of biofilms coincided with increased algal cover during spring and summer. By employing multivariate matching, we identified temperature, salinity, DO, and chlorophyll-a as the main contributing physico-chemical drivers of biotic community structures. These parameters are forecast to change most with the progression of ocean warming and increased nutrient input, which suggests an effect on the recruitment of Red Sea benthic communities as a result of climate change and anthropogenic influence. In conclusion, our study provides insight into coral reef functioning in the Red Sea and a comparative baseline to support coral reef studies in the region.
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  • 60
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © 2009 The Authors. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS Pathogens 5 (2009): e1000261, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000261.
    Description: Enterocytozoon bieneusi is the most common microsporidian associated with human disease, particularly in the immunocompromised population. In the setting of HIV infection, it is associated with diarrhea and wasting syndrome. Like all microsporidia, E. bieneusi is an obligate, intracellular parasite, but unlike others, it is in direct contact with the host cell cytoplasm. Studies of E. bieneusi have been greatly limited due to the absence of genomic data and lack of a robust cultivation system. Here, we present the first large-scale genomic dataset for E. bieneusi. Approximately 3.86 Mb of unique sequence was generated by paired end Sanger sequencing, representing about 64% of the estimated 6 Mb genome. A total of 3,804 genes were identified in E. bieneusi, of which 1,702 encode proteins with assigned functions. Of these, 653 are homologs of Encephalitozoon cuniculi proteins. Only one E. bieneusi protein with assigned function had no E. cuniculi homolog. The shared proteins were, in general, evenly distributed among the functional categories, with the exception of a dearth of genes encoding proteins associated with pathways for fatty acid and core carbon metabolism. Short intergenic regions, high gene density, and shortened protein-coding sequences were observed in the E. bieneusi genome, all traits consistent with genomic compaction. Our findings suggest that E. bieneusi is a likely model for extreme genome reduction and host dependence.
    Description: This research was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R21 AI064118 (DEA) and R21 AI52792 (ST). HGM was supported in part by NIH contracts HHSN266200400041C and HHSN2662004037C (Bioinformatics Resource Centers) and by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation.
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  • 61
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Authors, 2010. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 5 (2010): e9688, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009688.
    Description: Dinoflagellates are unicellular, often photosynthetic protists that play a major role in the dynamics of the Earth's oceans and climate. Sequencing of dinoflagellate nuclear DNA is thwarted by their massive genome sizes that are often several times that in humans. However, modern transcriptomic methods offer promising approaches to tackle this challenging system. Here, we used massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) to understand global transcriptional regulation patterns in Alexandrium tamarense cultures that were grown under four different conditions. We generated more than 40,000 unique short expression signatures gathered from the four conditions. Of these, about 11,000 signatures did not display detectable differential expression patterns. At a p-value 〈 1E-10, 1,124 signatures were differentially expressed in the three treatments, xenic, nitrogen-limited, and phosphorus-limited, compared to the nutrient-replete control, with the presence of bacteria explaining the largest set of these differentially expressed signatures. Among microbial eukaryotes, dinoflagellates contain the largest number of genes in their nuclear genomes. These genes occur in complex families, many of which have evolved via recent gene duplication events. Our expression data suggest that about 73% of the Alexandrium transcriptome shows no significant change in gene expression under the experimental conditions used here and may comprise a “core” component for this species. We report a fundamental shift in expression patterns in response to the presence of bacteria, highlighting the impact of biotic interaction on gene expression in dinoflagellates.
    Description: This work was primarily funded by a collaborative grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01 ES 013679-01A2) awarded to DB, DMA, and M. Bento Soares. Funding support for DMA and DLE was also provided from the Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health from the NSF/NIEHS Centers for Oceans and Human Health program, NIEHS (P50 ES 012742) and (NSF OCE-043072). Additional support came from the National Science Foundation (EF-0732440) in a grant awarded to F. Gerald Plumley, DB, JDH, and DMA. AM was supported by an Institutional NRSA (T 32 GM98629).
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  • 62
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Authors, 2010. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 5 (2010): e12805, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012805.
    Description: Circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology are the observable phenotypes from cycles in expression of, interactions between, and degradation of the underlying molecular components. In bilaterian animals, the core molecular components include Timeless-Timeout, photoreceptive cryptochromes, and several members of the basic-loop-helix-Per-ARNT-Sim (bHLH-PAS) family. While many of core circadian genes are conserved throughout the Bilateria, their specific roles vary among species. Here, we identify and experimentally study the rhythmic gene expression of conserved circadian clock members in a sea anemone in order to characterize this gene network in a member of the phylum Cnidaria and to infer critical components of the clockwork used in the last common ancestor of cnidarians and bilaterians. We identified homologs of circadian regulatory genes in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, including a gene most similar to Timeout, three cryptochromes, and several key bHLH-PAS transcription factors. We then maintained N. vectensis either in complete darkness or in a 12 hour light: 12 hour dark cycle in three different light treatments (blue only, full spectrum, blue-depleted). Gene expression varied in response to light cycle and light treatment, with a particularly strong pattern observed for NvClock. The cryptochromes more closely related to the light-sensitive clade of cryptochromes were upregulated in light treatments that included blue wavelengths. With co-immunoprecipitation, we determined that heterodimerization between CLOCK and CYCLE is conserved within N. vectensis. Additionally, we identified E-box motifs, DNA sequences recognized by the CLOCK:CYCLE heterodimer, upstream of genes showing rhythmic expression. This study reveals conserved molecular and functional components of the circadian clock that were in place at the divergence of the Cnidaria and Bilateria, suggesting the animal circadian clockwork is more ancient than previous data suggest. Characterizing circadian regulation in a cnidarian provides insight into the early origins of animal circadian rhythms and molecular regulation of environmentally cued behaviors.
    Description: The project described was supported by Award Number F32HD062178 to AMR from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Tropical Research Initiative of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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  • 63
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e20809, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020809.
    Description: The net reproductive rate measures the expected lifetime reproductive output of an individual, and plays an important role in demography, ecology, evolution, and epidemiology. Well-established methods exist to calculate it from age- or stage-classified demographic data. As an expectation, provides no information on variability; empirical measurements of lifetime reproduction universally show high levels of variability, and often positive skewness among individuals. This is often interpreted as evidence of heterogeneity, and thus of an opportunity for natural selection. However, variability provides evidence of heterogeneity only if it exceeds the level of variability to be expected in a cohort of identical individuals all experiencing the same vital rates. Such comparisons require a way to calculate the statistics of lifetime reproduction from demographic data. Here, a new approach is presented, using the theory of Markov chains with rewards, obtaining all the moments of the distribution of lifetime reproduction. The approach applies to age- or stage-classified models, to constant, periodic, or stochastic environments, and to any kind of reproductive schedule. As examples, I analyze data from six empirical studies, of a variety of animal and plant taxa (nematodes, polychaetes, humans, and several species of perennial plants).
    Description: Supported by National Science Foundation Grant DEB-0816514 and by a Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
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  • 64
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e28949, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028949.
    Description: Shotgun mass spectrometry was used to detect proteins in the harmful alga, Aureococcus anophagefferens, and monitor their relative abundance across nutrient replete (control), phosphate-deficient (−P) and −P refed with phosphate (P-refed) conditions. Spectral counting techniques identified differentially abundant proteins and demonstrated that under phosphate deficiency, A. anophagefferens increases proteins involved in both inorganic and organic phosphorus (P) scavenging, including a phosphate transporter, 5′-nucleotidase, and alkaline phosphatase. Additionally, an increase in abundance of a sulfolipid biosynthesis protein was detected in −P and P-refed conditions. Analysis of the polar membrane lipids showed that cellular concentrations of the sulfolipid sulphoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG) were nearly two-fold greater in the −P condition versus the control condition, while cellular phospholipids were approximately 8-fold less. Transcript and protein abundances were more tightly coupled for gene products involved in P metabolism compared to those involved in a range of other metabolic functions. Comparison of protein abundances between the −P and P-refed conditions identified differences in the timing of protein degradation and turnover. This suggests that culture studies examining nutrient starvation responses will be valuable in interpreting protein abundance patterns for cellular nutritional status and history in metaproteomic datasets.
    Description: Research for this work was supported by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ECOHAB grant (#NA09NOS4780206) and National Science Foundation grant (#OCE-0723667) and a STAR Research Assistance Agreement No. R-83041501-0 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Further support came from the Woods Hole Coastal Ocean Institute. LLW was supported by a Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship (#FP916901). EMB was supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (#2007037200) and an Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship (#F6E20324).
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  • 65
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e27205, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027205.
    Description: Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a molecular chaperone providing tolerance to heat and other challenges at the cellular and organismal levels. We sequenced a genomic cluster containing three hsp70 family genes linked with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region from an extremely heat tolerant animal, camel (Camelus dromedarius). Two hsp70 family genes comprising the cluster contain heat shock elements (HSEs), while the third gene lacks HSEs and should not be induced by heat shock. Comparison of the camel hsp70 cluster with the corresponding regions from several mammalian species revealed similar organization of genes forming the cluster. Specifically, the two heat inducible hsp70 genes are arranged in tandem, while the third constitutively expressed hsp70 family member is present in inverted orientation. Comparison of regulatory regions of hsp70 genes from camel and other mammals demonstrates that transcription factor matches with highest significance are located in the highly conserved 250-bp upstream region and correspond to HSEs followed by NF-Y and Sp1 binding sites. The high degree of sequence conservation leaves little room for putative camel-specific regulatory elements. Surprisingly, RT-PCR and 5′/3′-RACE analysis demonstrated that all three hsp70 genes are expressed in camel's muscle and blood cells not only after heat shock, but under normal physiological conditions as well, and may account for tolerance of camel cells to extreme environmental conditions. A high degree of evolutionary conservation observed for the hsp70 cluster always linked with MHC locus in mammals suggests an important role of such organization for coordinated functioning of these vital genes.
    Description: This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project 09-04-00643 and 09-04-00660, project from ‘‘Genofond dynamics’’ program, and Grant of the Program of Molecular and Cellular Biology RAN to Dr. Evgen’ev; and by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation (State contract 14.740.11.0757 and Russia President Grant to young scientists MK-1418.2010.4. The research was supported by State Contract N16.552.11.7034 of Ministry of Education and Science.
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  • 66
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e28353, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028353.
    Description: Simultaneous high resolution sampling of predator behavior and habitat characteristics is often difficult to achieve despite its importance in understanding the foraging decisions and habitat use of predators. Here we tap into the biosonar system of Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, using sound and orientation recording tags to uncover prey-finding cues available to echolocating predators in the deep-sea. Echolocation sounds indicate where whales search and encounter prey, as well as the altitude of whales above the sea-floor and the density of organisms around them, providing a link between foraging activity and the bio-physical environment. Tagged whales (n = 9) hunted exclusively at depth, investing most of their search time either in the lower part of the deep scattering layer (DSL) or near the sea-floor with little diel change. At least 43% (420/974) of recorded prey-capture attempts were performed within the benthic boundary layer despite a wide range of dive depths, and many dives included both meso- and bentho-pelagic foraging. Blainville's beaked whales only initiate searching when already deep in the descent and encounter prey suitable for capture within 2 min of the start of echolocation, suggesting that these whales are accessing prey in reliable vertical strata. Moreover, these prey resources are sufficiently dense to feed the animals in what is effectively four hours of hunting per day enabling a strategy in which long dives to exploit numerous deep-prey with low nutritional value require protracted recovery periods (average 1.5 h) between dives. This apparent searching efficiency maybe aided by inhabiting steep undersea slopes with access to both the DSL and the sea-floor over small spatial scales. Aggregations of prey in these biotopes are located using biosonar-derived landmarks and represent stable and abundant resources for Blainville's beaked whales in the otherwise food-limited deep-ocean.
    Description: The work was funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Ocean Partnership Program (US), by a consortium consisting of the Canary Islands Government, the Spanish Ministry of Environment and the Spanish Ministry of Defense, and by the European environmental funding LIFE-INDEMARES program for the inventory and designation of the Natura 2000 network in marine areas of the Spanish territory, headed by Fundacion Biodiversidad, with additional support from the Cabildo Insular of El Hierro. PA is currently supported by the National Research Project: Cetacean, Oceanography and Biodiversity from La Palma and El Hierro (CGL2009-13112) of the Spanish Ministry of Science and NAS by a Marie Curie fellowship from the 7th European Frame Program. MJ was supported by grants from the Strategic Environmental Research Development Program and from the National Ocean Partnership Program. PTM was supported by frame grants from the National Danish Science Foundation.
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  • 67
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e25386, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025386.
    Description: Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 has provided the first genome of the recently discovered Zetaproteobacteria subdivision. Genome analysis reveals a complete TCA cycle, the ability to fix CO2, carbon-storage proteins and a sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS). The latter could facilitate the transport of carbohydrates across the cell membrane and possibly aid in stalk formation, a matrix composed of exopolymers and/or exopolysaccharides, which is used to store oxidized iron minerals outside the cell. Two-component signal transduction system genes, including histidine kinases, GGDEF domain genes, and response regulators containing CheY-like receivers, are abundant and widely distributed across the genome. Most of these are located in close proximity to genes required for cell division, phosphate uptake and transport, exopolymer and heavy metal secretion, flagellar biosynthesis and pilus assembly suggesting that these functions are highly regulated. Similar to many other motile, microaerophilic bacteria, genes encoding aerotaxis as well as antioxidant functionality (e.g., superoxide dismutases and peroxidases) are predicted to sense and respond to oxygen gradients, as would be required to maintain cellular redox balance in the specialized habitat where M. ferrooxydans resides. Comparative genomics with other Fe(II) oxidizing bacteria residing in freshwater and marine environments revealed similar content, synteny, and amino acid similarity of coding sequences potentially involved in Fe(II) oxidation, signal transduction and response regulation, oxygen sensation and detoxification, and heavy metal resistance. This study has provided novel insights into the molecular nature of Zetaproteobacteria.
    Description: Funding has been provided by the NSF Microbial Observatories Program (KJE, DE), NSF’s Science and Technology Program, by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (KJE), the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California (KJE), and by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (KJE, DE). Advanced Light Source analyses at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are supported by the Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Materials Science of the United States Department of Energy (DE-AC02-05CH11231).
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  • 68
    Publication Date: 2016-09-22
    Description: © The Author(s), 2011. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 6 (2011): e26732, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026732.
    Description: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an enigmatic disease of unknown origin that affects a large percentage of women. The vaginal microbiota of women with BV is associated with serious sequelae, including abnormal pregnancies. The etiology of BV is not fully understood, however, it has been suggested that it is transmissible, and that G. vaginalis may be an etiological agent. Studies using enzymatic assays to define G. vaginalis biotypes, as well as more recent genomic comparisons of G. vaginalis isolates from symptomatic and asymptomatic women, suggest that particular G. vaginalis strains may play a key role in the pathogenesis of BV. To explore G. vaginalis diversity, distribution and sexual transmission, we developed a Shannon entropy-based method to analyze low-level sequence variation in 65,710 G. vaginalis 16S rRNA gene segments that were PCR-amplified from vaginal samples of 53 monogamous women and from urethral and penile skin samples of their male partners. We observed a high degree of low-level diversity among G. vaginalis sequences with a total of 46 unique sequence variants (oligotypes), and also found strong correlations of these oligotypes between sexual partners. Even though Gram stain-defined normal and some Gram stain-defined intermediate oligotype profiles clustered together in UniFrac analysis, no single G. vaginalis oligotype was found to be specific to BV or normal vaginal samples. This study describes a novel method for investigating G. vaginalis diversity at a low level of taxonomic discrimination. The findings support cultivation-based studies that indicate sexual partners harbor the same strains of G. vaginalis. This study also highlights the fact that a few, reproducible nucleotide variations within the 16S rRNA gene can reveal clinical or epidemiological associations that would be missed by genus-level or species-level categorization of 16S rRNA data.
    Description: This work is supported by funding from the Research Institute for Children in New Orleans and NIH grant 5RO1AI79071-2.
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  • 69
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2012. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS Biology 10 (2012): e1001234, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001234.
    Description: Since the first discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vents along the Galápagos Rift in 1977, numerous vent sites and endemic faunal assemblages have been found along mid-ocean ridges and back-arc basins at low to mid latitudes. These discoveries have suggested the existence of separate biogeographic provinces in the Atlantic and the North West Pacific, the existence of a province including the South West Pacific and Indian Ocean, and a separation of the North East Pacific, North East Pacific Rise, and South East Pacific Rise. The Southern Ocean is known to be a region of high deep-sea species diversity and centre of origin for the global deep-sea fauna. It has also been proposed as a gateway connecting hydrothermal vents in different oceans but is little explored because of extreme conditions. Since 2009 we have explored two segments of the East Scotia Ridge (ESR) in the Southern Ocean using a remotely operated vehicle. In each segment we located deep-sea hydrothermal vents hosting high-temperature black smokers up to 382.8°C and diffuse venting. The chemosynthetic ecosystems hosted by these vents are dominated by a new yeti crab (Kiwa n. sp.), stalked barnacles, limpets, peltospiroid gastropods, anemones, and a predatory sea star. Taxa abundant in vent ecosystems in other oceans, including polychaete worms (Siboglinidae), bathymodiolid mussels, and alvinocaridid shrimps, are absent from the ESR vents. These groups, except the Siboglinidae, possess planktotrophic larvae, rare in Antarctic marine invertebrates, suggesting that the environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean may act as a dispersal filter for vent taxa. Evidence from the distinctive fauna, the unique community structure, and multivariate analyses suggest that the Antarctic vent ecosystems represent a new vent biogeographic province. However, multivariate analyses of species present at the ESR and at other deep-sea hydrothermal vents globally indicate that vent biogeography is more complex than previously recognised.
    Description: The ChEsSo research programme was funded by a NERC Consortium Grant (NE/DO1249X/1) and supported by the Census of Marine Life and the Sloan Foundation, and the Total Foundation for Biodiversity (Abyss 2100)(SVTH) all of which are gratefully acknowledged. We also acknowledge NSF grant ANT-0739675 (CG and TS), NERC PhD studentships NE/D01429X/1(LH, LM, CNR), NE/H524922/1(JH) and NE/F010664/1 (WDKR), a Cusanuswerk doctoral fellowship, and a Lesley & Charles Hilton-Brown Scholarship, University of St. Andrews (PHBS).
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  • 70
    Publication Date: 2016-09-23
    Description: © The Author(s), 2012. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in PLoS One 7 (2012): e29659, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029659.
    Description: Evidence that infectious diseases cause wildlife population extirpation or extinction remains anecdotal and it is unclear whether the impacts of a pathogen at the individual level can scale up to population level so drastically. Here, we quantify the response of a Common eider colony to emerging epidemics of avian cholera, one of the most important infectious diseases affecting wild waterfowl. We show that avian cholera has the potential to drive colony extinction, even over a very short period. Extinction depends on disease severity (the impact of the disease on adult female survival) and disease frequency (the number of annual epidemics per decade). In case of epidemics of high severity (i.e., causing 〉30% mortality of breeding females), more than one outbreak per decade will be unsustainable for the colony and will likely lead to extinction within the next century; more than four outbreaks per decade will drive extinction to within 20 years. Such severity and frequency of avian cholera are already observed, and avian cholera might thus represent a significant threat to viability of breeding populations. However, this will depend on the mechanisms underlying avian cholera transmission, maintenance, and spread, which are currently only poorly known.
    Description: The study was supported by the Canadian Wildlife Service-Environment Canada (http://www.ec.gc.ca/), Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (http:// www.nwmb.com/), Greenland Institute of Natural Resources (http://www.natur.gl/), Polar Continental Shelf Project (http://polar.nrcan.gc.ca/), Fonds Que´be´cois de la Recherche sur la Nature et les Technologies (http://www.fqrnt.gouv.qc.ca/), Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence ArcticNet (http://www.arcticnet.ulaval. ca/), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/), and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Canada (http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/).
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