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Creators/Authors contains: "Allen, Andrew E."

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  1. Abstract

    Iron is an essential nutrient for all microorganisms of the marine environment. Iron limitation of primary production has been well documented across a significant portion of the global surface ocean, but much less is known regarding the potential for iron limitation of the marine heterotrophic microbial community. In this work, we characterize the transcriptomic response of the heterotrophic bacterial community to iron additions in the California Current System, an eastern boundary upwelling system, to detect in situ iron stress of heterotrophic bacteria. Changes in gene expression in response to iron availability by heterotrophic bacteria were detected under conditions of high productivity when carbon limitation was relieved but when iron availability remained low. The ratio of particulate organic carbon to dissolved iron emerged as a biogeochemical proxy for iron limitation of heterotrophic bacteria in this system. Iron stress was characterized by high expression levels of iron transport pathways and decreased expression of iron-containing enzymes involved in carbon metabolism, where a majority of the heterotrophic bacterial iron requirement resides. Expression of iron stress biomarkers, as identified in the iron-addition experiments, was also detected insitu. These results suggest iron availability will impact the processing of organic matter by heterotrophic bacteria with potential consequences for the marine biological carbon pump.

     
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  2. Dudley, Edward G. (Ed.)
    Oysters play an important role in coastal ecology and are a globally popular seafood source. However, their filter-feeding lifestyle enables coastal pathogens, toxins, and pollutants to accumulate in their tissues, potentially endangering human health. While pathogen concentrations in coastal waters are often linked to environmental conditions and runoff events, these do not always correlate with pathogen concentrations in oysters. Additional factors related to the microbial ecology of pathogenic bacteria and their relationship with oyster hosts likely play a role in accumulation but are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated whether microbial communities in water and oysters were linked to accumulation of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, or fecal indicator bacteria. Site-specific environmental conditions significantly influenced microbial communities and potential pathogen concentrations in water. Oyster microbial communities, however, exhibited less variability in microbial community diversity and accumulation of target bacteria overall and were less impacted by environmental differences between sites. Instead, changes in specific microbial taxa in oyster and water samples, particularly in oyster digestive glands, were linked to elevated levels of potential pathogens. For example, increased levels of V. parahaemolyticus were associated with higher relative abundances of cyanobacteria, which could represent an environmental vector for Vibrio spp. transport, and with decreased relative abundance of Mycoplasma and other key members of the oyster digestive gland microbiota. These findings suggest that host and microbial factors, in addition to environmental variables, may influence pathogen accumulation in oysters. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 26, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Coastal upwelling regions are among the most productive marine ecosystems but may be threatened by amplified ocean acidification. Increased acidification is hypothesized to reduce iron bioavailability for phytoplankton thereby expanding iron limitation and impacting primary production. Here we show from community to molecular levels that phytoplankton in an upwelling region respond to short-term acidification exposure with iron uptake pathways and strategies that reduce cellular iron demand. A combined physiological and multi-omics approach was applied to trace metal clean incubations that introduced 1200 ppm CO2for up to four days.Although variable, molecular-level responses indicate a prioritization of iron uptake pathways that are less hindered by acidification and reductions in iron utilization. Growth, nutrient uptake, and community compositions remained largely unaffected suggesting that these mechanisms may confer short-term resistance to acidification; however, we speculate that cellular iron demand is only temporarily satisfied, and longer-term acidification exposure without increased iron inputs may result in increased iron stress.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Production and use of proteins is under strong selection in microbes, but it is unclear how proteome-level traits relate to ecological strategies. We identified and quantified proteomic traits of eukaryotic microbes and bacteria through an Antarctic phytoplankton bloom using in situ metaproteomics. Different taxa, rather than different environmental conditions, formed distinct clusters based on their ribosomal and photosynthetic proteomic proportions, and we propose that these characteristics relate to ecological differences. We defined and used a proteomic proxy for regulatory cost, which showed that SAR11 had the lowest regulatory cost of any taxa we observed at our summertime Southern Ocean study site. Haptophytes had lower regulatory cost than diatoms, which may underpin haptophyte-to-diatom bloom progression in the Ross Sea. We were able to make these proteomic trait inferences by assessing various sources of bias in metaproteomics, providing practical recommendations for researchers in the field. We have quantified several proteomic traits (ribosomal and photosynthetic proteomic proportions, regulatory cost) in eukaryotic and bacterial taxa, which can then be incorporated into trait-based models of microbial communities that reflect resource allocation strategies.

     
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  5. Abstract

    The ecological and oceanographic processes that drive the response of pelagic ocean microbiomes to environmental changes remain poorly understood, particularly in coastal upwelling ecosystems. Here we show that seasonal and interannual variability in coastal upwelling predicts pelagic ocean microbiome diversity and community structure in the Southern California Current region. Ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, targeting prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, from samples collected seasonally during 2014-2020 indicate that nitracline depth is the most robust predictor of spatial microbial community structure and biodiversity in this region. Striking ecological changes occurred due to the transition from a warm anomaly during 2014-2016, characterized by intense stratification, to cooler conditions in 2017-2018, representative of more typical upwelling conditions, with photosynthetic eukaryotes, especially diatoms, changing most strongly. The regional slope of nitracline depth exerts strong control on the relative proportion of highly diverse offshore communities and low biodiversity, but highly productive nearshore communities.

     
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  6. Micronutrients control phytoplankton growth in the ocean, influencing carbon export and fisheries. It is currently unclear how micronutrient scarcity affects cellular processes and how interdependence across micronutrients arises. We show that proximate causes of micronutrient growth limitation and interdependence are governed by cumulative cellular costs of acquiring and using micronutrients. Using a mechanistic proteomic allocation model of a polar diatom focused on iron and manganese, we demonstrate how cellular processes fundamentally underpin micronutrient limitation, and how they interact and compensate for each other to shape cellular elemental stoichiometry and resource interdependence. We coupled our model with metaproteomic and environmental data, yielding an approach for estimating biogeochemical metrics, including taxon-specific growth rates. Our results show that cumulative cellular costs govern how environmental conditions modify phytoplankton growth. 
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  7. Bernstein, Hans C. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Interactions between vibrio bacteria and the planktonic community impact marine ecology and human health. Many coastal Vibrio spp. can infect humans, representing a growing threat linked to increasing seawater temperatures. Interactions with eukaryotic organisms may provide attachment substrate and critical nutrients that facilitate the persistence, diversification, and spread of pathogenic Vibrio spp. However, vibrio interactions with planktonic organisms in an environmental context are poorly understood. We quantified the pathogenic Vibrio species V. cholerae , V. parahaemolyticus , and V. vulnificus monthly for 1 year at five sites and observed high abundances, particularly during summer months, with species-specific temperature and salinity distributions. Using metabarcoding, we established a detailed profile of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic coastal microbial communities. We found that pathogenic Vibrio species were frequently associated with distinct eukaryotic amplicon sequence variants (ASVs), including diatoms and copepods. Shared environmental conditions, such as high temperatures and low salinities, were associated with both high concentrations of pathogenic vibrios and potential environmental reservoirs, which may influence vibrio infection risks linked to climate change and should be incorporated into predictive ecological models and experimental laboratory systems. IMPORTANCE Many species of coastal vibrio bacteria can infect humans, representing a growing health threat linked to increasing seawater temperatures. However, their interactions with surrounding microbes in the environment, especially eukaryotic organisms that may provide nutrients and attachment substrate, are poorly understood. We quantified three pathogenic Vibrio species monthly for a duration of 1 year, finding that all three species were abundant and exhibited species-specific temperature and salinity distributions. Using metabarcoding, we investigated associations between these pathogenic species and prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes, revealing genus and amplicon sequence variant (ASV)-specific relationships with potential functional implications. For example, pathogenic species were frequently associated with chitin-producing eukaryotes, such as diatoms in the genus Thalassiosira and copepods. These associations between high concentrations of pathogenic vibrios and potential environmental reservoirs should be considered when predicting infection risk and developing ecologically relevant model systems. 
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