skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Diatom populations in an upwelling environment decrease silica content to avoid growth limitation
Summary

A mix of adaptive strategies enable diatoms to sustain rapid growth in dynamic ocean regions, making diatoms one of the most productive primary producers in the world. We illustrate one such strategy off coastal California that facilitates continued, high, cell division rates despite silicic acid stress. Using a fluorescent dye to measure single‐cell diatom silica production rates, silicification (silica per unit area) and growth rates we show diatoms decrease silicification and maintain growth rate when silicon concentration limits silica production rates. While this physiological response to silicon stress was similar across taxa,in situsilicic acid concentration limited silica production rates by varying degrees for taxa within the same community. Despite this variability among taxa, silicon stress did not alter the contribution of specific taxa to total community silica production or to community composition. Maintenance of division rate at the expense of frustule thickness decreases cell density which could affect regional biogeochemical cycles. The reduction in frustule silicification also creates an ecological tradeoff: thinner frustules increase susceptibility to predation but reducing Si quotas maximizes cell abundance for a given pulse of silicic acid, thereby favouring a larger eventual population size which facilitates diatom persistence in habitats with pulsed resource supplies.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10077653
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley-Blackwell
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Environmental Microbiology
Volume:
20
Issue:
11
ISSN:
1462-2912
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 4184-4193
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Diatoms are major contributors to marine primary productivity and carbon export due to their rapid growth in high-nutrient environments and their heavy silica ballast. Their contributions are highly modified in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll regions due to the decoupling of upper-ocean silicon and carbon cycling caused by low iron (Fe). The Si cycle and the role of diatoms in the biological carbon pump was examined at Ocean Station Papa (OSP) in the HNLC region of the northeastern subarctic Pacific during the NASA EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) field study. Sampling occurred during the annual minimum in surface silicic acid (Si(OH)4) concentration. Biogenic silica (bSi) concentrations were low, being in the tens of nanomolar range, despite high Si(OH)4 concentrations of about 15 μM. On average, the >5.0-µm particle size fraction dominated Si dynamics, accounting for 65% of bSi stocks and 81% of Si uptake compared to the small fraction (0.6–5.0 μm). Limitation of Si uptake was detected in the small, but not the large, size fraction. Growth rate in small diatoms was limited by Fe, while their Si uptake was restricted by Si(OH)4 concentration, whereas larger diatoms were only growth-limited by Fe. About a third of bSi production was exported out of the upper 100 m. The contribution of diatoms to carbon export (9–13%) was about twice their contribution to primary productivity (3–7%). The combination of low bSi production, low diatom primary productivity and high bSi export efficiency at OSP was more similar to the dynamics in the subtropical gyres than to other high-nutrient low-chlorophyll regions. 
    more » « less
  2. The contribution of diatoms to the production and export of organic carbon is highly modified in high-nutrient low-chlorophyll (HNLC) regions due to the decoupling of upper-ocean silicon and carbon cycling caused by low iron. The Si cycle and the role of diatoms in the biological carbon pump was examined at Ocean Station Papa (OSP) in the HNLC region of the northeastern subarctic Pacific during the NASA EX port Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) field study. Sampling occurred during the annual minimum in surface silicic acid concentration, [Si(OH)4 ]. Biogenic silica (bSi) concentrations were low being in the tens of nanomolar range despite high [Si(OH) 4 ], ~15 μM. On average the > 5.0 μm particle size fraction dominated Si dynamics accounting for 65% of bSi stocks and 81% of Si uptake compared to the small fraction (0.6 - 5.0 μm). Limitation of Si uptake was detected in the small, but not the large, size fraction. Small diatoms were co-limited with growth rate restricted by Fe and Si uptake restricted by [Si(OH) 4 ], whereas larger diatoms were only growth limited by Fe. About a third of silica production was exported out of the upper 100 m. The contribution of diatoms to carbon export (9 - 13%) was about twice their contribution to primary productivity (3 - 7%). The combination of low silica production, low diatom primary productivity and high bSi export efficiency at OSP was more similar to the dynamics in the subtropical gyres than to other HNLC regions. 
    more » « less
  3. Diatoms are highly productive single‐celled algae that form an intricately patterned silica cell wall after every cell division. They take up and utilize silicic acid from seawater via silicon transporter (SIT) proteins. This study examined the evolution of theSITgene family to identify potential genetic adaptations that enable diatoms to thrive in the modern ocean. By searching for sequence homologs in available databases, the diversity of organisms found to encodeSITs increased substantially and included all major diatom lineages and other algal protists. A bacterial‐encoded gene with homology toSITsequences was also identified, suggesting that a lateral gene transfer event occurred between bacterial and protist lineages. In diatoms, theSITgenes diverged and diversified to produce five distinct clades. The most basalSITclades were widely distributed across diatom lineages, while the more derived clades were lineage‐specific, which together produced a distinct repertoire ofSITtypes among major diatom lineages. Differences in the predicted protein functional domains encoded amongSITclades suggest that the divergence of clades resulted in functional diversification amongSITs. Both laboratory cultures and natural communities changed transcription of eachSITclade in response to experimental or environmental growth conditions, with distinct transcriptional patterns observed among clades. Together, these data suggest that the diversification ofSITs within diatoms led to specialized adaptations among diatoms lineages, and perhaps their dominant ability to take up silicic acid from seawater in diverse environmental conditions.

     
    more » « less
  4. Diatoms serve as the major link between the marine carbon (C) and silicon (Si) biogeochemical cycles through their contributions to primary productivity and requirement for Si during cell wall formation. Although several culture-based studies have investigated the molecular response of diatoms to Si and nitrogen (N) starvation and replenishment, diatom silicon metabolism has been understudied in natural populations. A series of deckboard Si-amendment incubations were conducted using surface water collected in the California Upwelling Zone near Monterey Bay. Steep concentration gradients in macronutrients in the surface ocean coupled with substantial N and Si utilization led to communities with distinctly different macronutrient states: replete (‘healthy’), low N (‘N-stressed’), and low N and Si (‘N- and Si-stressed’). Biogeochemical measurements of Si uptake combined with metatranscriptomic analysis of communities incubated with and without added Si were used to explore the underlying molecular response of diatom communities to different macronutrient availability. Metatranscriptomic analysis revealed that N-stressed communities exhibited dynamic shifts in N and C transcriptional patterns suggestive of compromised metabolism. Expression patterns in communities experiencing both N and Si stress imply that the presence of Si stress may partially ameliorate N stress and dampen the impact on organic matter metabolism. This response builds upon previous observations that the regulation of C and N metabolism is decoupled from Si limitation status, where Si stress allows the cell to optimize the metabolic machinery necessary to respond to episodic pulses of nutrients. Several well-characterized Si-metabolism associated genes were found to be poor molecular markers of Si physiological status; however, several uncharacterized Si-responsive genes were revealed to be potential indicators of Si stress or silica production.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Diatoms are single‐celled algae that biologically fabricate nanostructured silica shells with ordered pore arrays called frustules that resemble a 2D photonic crystal. A monolayer ofPinnulariafrustules isolated from cell culture is deposited on a glass substrate and then conformally coated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to serve as a nanostructured thin film for ultrathin layer chromatography (UTLC). Malachite green and Nile red are resolved in toluene mobile phase and the separated analytes are profiled micro‐Raman spectroscopy, where plasmonic AgNPs provide surface‐enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). The AgNP‐diatom frustule monolayer improves SERS detection of malachite green by an average factor of 1.8 ± 0.1 over the plasmonic AgNP layer on glass. Analysis of hot spots on the AgNP‐diatom frustule monolayer reveals that nearly 20% of the SERS active area intensifies the SERS signal at least tenfold over the SERS signal for AgNP on glass. Diatom‐SERS enhancement is attributed to guided‐mode resonances of the Raman laser source, which in turn further enhances the localized surface plasmonic resonance from AgNPs. Overall, the AgNP‐diatom frustule monolayer thin film is a new functional material that uniquely enables separation of analytes by UTLC, quantitative SERS detection of separated analytes, and photonic enhancement of the SERS signals.

     
    more » « less