skip to main content


Title: Imprint of trace dissolved oxygen on prokaryoplankton community structure in an oxygen minimum zone
The Eastern Tropical North Pacific (ETNP) is a large, persistent, and intensifying oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) that accounts for almost half of the total area of global OMZs. Within the OMZ core (350–700 m depth), dissolved oxygen is typically near or below the analytical detection limit of modern sensors (10 nM). Steep oxygen gradients above and below the OMZ core lead to vertical structuring of microbial communities that also vary between particle-associated (PA) and free-living (FL) size fractions. Here, we use 16S amplicon sequencing (iTags) to analyze the diversity and distribution of prokaryotic populations between FL and PA size fractions and among the range of ambient redox conditions. The hydrographic conditions at our study area were distinct from those previously reported in the ETNP and other OMZs, such as the ETSP. Trace oxygen concentrations (0.35 mM) were present throughout the OMZ core at our sampling location. Consequently, nitrite accumulations typically reported for OMZ cores were absent as were sequences for anammox bacteria (Brocadiales genus Candidatus Scalindua), which are commonly found across oxic-anoxic boundaries in other systems. However, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) distributions and maximal autotrophic carbon assimilation rates (1.4 mM C d􀀀1) coincided with a pronounced ammonium concentration maximum near the top of the OMZ core. In addition, members of the genus Nitrospina, a dominant nitrite-oxidizing bacterial (NOB) clade were present suggesting that both ammonia and nitrite oxidation occur at trace oxygen concentrations. Analysis of similarity test (ANOSIM) and Non-metric Dimensional Scaling (nMDS) revealed that bacterial and archaeal phylogenetic representations were significantly different between size fractions. Based on ANOSIM and iTag profiles, composition of PA assemblages was less influenced by the prevailing depth-dependent biogeochemical regime than the FL fraction. Based on the presence of AOA, NOB and trace oxygen in the OMZ core we suggest that nitrification is an active process in the nitrogen cycle of this region of the ETNP OMZ.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1459243
NSF-PAR ID:
10220567
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in marine science
Volume:
7
ISSN:
2296-7745
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are important nitrifiers whose activity regulates the availability of nitrite and dictates the magnitude of nitrogen loss in ecosystems. In oxic marine sediments, ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and NOB together catalyze the oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, but the abundance ratios of AOA to canonical NOB in some cores are significantly higher than the theoretical ratio range predicted from physiological traits of AOA and NOB characterized under realistic ocean conditions, indicating that some NOBs are yet to be discovered. Here we report a bacterial phylumCandidatusNitrosediminicolota, members of which are more abundant than canonical NOBs and are widespread across global oligotrophic sediments.Ca. Nitrosediminicolota members have the functional potential to oxidize nitrite, in addition to other accessory functions such as urea hydrolysis and thiosulfate reduction. While one recovered species (Ca. Nitrosediminicola aerophilus) is generally confined within the oxic zone, another (Ca. Nitrosediminicola anaerotolerans) additionally appears in anoxic sediments. CountingCa. Nitrosediminicolota as a nitrite-oxidizer helps to resolve the apparent abundance imbalance between AOA and NOB in oxic marine sediments, and thus its activity may exert controls on the nitrite budget.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Fixed nitrogen limits primary productivity in most areas of the surface ocean. Nitrite oxidation is the main source of nitrate, the most abundant form of inorganic fixed nitrogen. Even though known as an aerobic process, nitrite oxidation is not always stimulated by increased oxygen concentration, and nitrite oxidation occurs in layers of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) where oxygen is not detectable. Nitrite‐oxidizing bacteria, known since their original isolation as aerobes, were also detected in these layers. Whether and how nitrite oxidation is occurring in the anoxic seawater is debated. Here, we reassess recent advances in marine nitrite oxidation in OMZ regions using previous work and new data sets we collected in two Pacific OMZs. We analyze the complex relationship between nitrite oxidation and oxygen. We discuss potential mechanisms explaining nitrite oxidation in different layers of OMZs based on recent findings and propose future directions to resolve the controversial question of apparently anaerobic nitrite oxidation in anoxic layers.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    We investigated methane oxidation in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) of the eastern tropical North Pacific (ETNP) off central Mexico. Methane concentrations in the anoxic core of the OMZ reached ~ 20 nmol L−1at off shelf sites and 34 nmol L−1at a shelf site. Rates of methane oxidation were determined in ship‐board incubations with3H‐labeled methane at O2concentrations 0–75 nmol L−1. In vertical profiles at off‐shelf stations, highest rates were found between the secondary nitrite maximum at ~ 130 m and the methane maximum at 300–400 m in the anoxic core. Methane oxidation was inhibited by addition of 1μmol L−1oxygen, which, together with the depth distribution, indicated an anaerobic pathway. A coupling to nitrite reduction was further indicated by the inhibitory effect of the nitric oxide scavenger 2‐phenyl‐4,4,5,5‐tetramethylimidazoline‐1‐oxyl‐3‐oxide (PTIO). Metatranscriptomes from the anoxic OMZ core supported the likely involvement of nitrite‐reducing bacteria of the NC10 clade in anaerobic methane oxidation, but also indicated a potential role for nitrate‐reducing euryarchaeotal methane oxidizers (ANME‐2d). Gammaproteobacteria of the Methanococcales were further detected in both 16S rRNA gene amplicons and metatranscriptomes, but the role of these presumed obligately aerobic methane oxidizers in the anoxic OMZ core is unclear. Given available estimates of water residence time, the measured rates and rate constants (up to ~ 1 yr−1) imply that anaerobic methane oxidation is a substantial methane sink in the ETNP OMZ and hence attenuates the emission of methane from this and possibly other OMZs.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Hopanoid lipids, bacteriohopanols and bacteriohopanepolyols, are membrane components exclusive to bacteria. Together with their diagenetic derivatives, they are commonly used as biomarkers for specific bacterial groups or biogeochemical processes in the geologic record. However, the sources of hopanoids to marine and freshwater environments remain inadequately constrained. Recent marker gene studies suggest a widespread potential for hopanoid biosynthesis in marine bacterioplankton, including nitrifying (i.e., ammonia‐ and nitrite‐oxidizing) bacteria. To explore their hopanoid biosynthetic capacities, we studied the distribution of hopanoid biosynthetic genes in the genomes of cultivated and uncultivated ammonia‐oxidizing (AOB), nitrite‐oxidizing (NOB), and complete ammonia‐oxidizing (comammox) bacteria, finding that biosynthesis of diverse hopanoids is common among seven of the nine presently cultivated clades of nitrifying bacteria. Hopanoid biosynthesis genes are also conserved among the diverse lineages of bacterial nitrifiers detected in environmental metagenomes. We selected seven representative NOB isolated from marine, freshwater, and engineered environments for phenotypic characterization. All tested NOB produced diverse types of hopanoids, with some NOB producing primarily diploptene and others producing primarily bacteriohopanepolyols. Relative and absolute abundances of hopanoids were distinct among the cultures and dependent on growth conditions, such as oxygen and nitrite limitation. Several novel nitrogen‐containing bacteriohopanepolyols were tentatively identified, of which the so called BHP‐743.6 was present in all NOB. Distinct carbon isotopic signatures of biomass, hopanoids, and fatty acids in four tested NOB suggest operation of the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle inNitrospiraspp. andNitrospina gracilisand of the Calvin–Benson–Bassham cycle for carbon fixation inNitrobacter vulgarisandNitrococcus mobilis. We suggest that the contribution of hopanoids by NOB to environmental samples could be estimated by their carbon isotopic compositions. The ubiquity of nitrifying bacteria in the ocean today and the antiquity of this metabolic process suggest the potential for significant contributions to the geologic record of hopanoids.

     
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Nitrification is a central process in the global nitrogen cycle, carried out by a complex network of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), complete ammonia-oxidizing (comammox) bacteria, and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). Nitrification is responsible for significant nitrogen leaching and N 2 O emissions and thought to impede plant nitrogen use efficiency in agricultural systems. However, the actual contribution of each nitrifier group to net rates and N 2 O emissions remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that highly fertile agricultural soils with high organic matter mineralization rates could allow a detailed characterization of N cycling in these soils. Using a combination of molecular and activity measurements, we show that in a mixed AOA, AOB, and comammox community, AOA outnumbered low diversity assemblages of AOB and comammox 50- to 430-fold, and strongly dominated net nitrification activities with low N 2 O yields between 0.18 and 0.41 ng N 2 O–N per µg NO x –N in cropped, fallow, as well as native soil. Nitrification rates were not significantly different in plant-covered and fallow plots. Mass balance calculations indicated that plants relied heavily on nitrate, and not ammonium as primary nitrogen source in these soils. Together, these results imply AOA as integral part of the nitrogen cycle in a highly fertile agricultural soil. 
    more » « less