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Creators/Authors contains: "Anderson, Rika E."

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  1. Abstract

    Deep-sea hydrothermal vent geochemistry shapes the foundation of the microbial food web by fueling chemolithoautotrophic microbial activity. Microbial eukaryotes (or protists) play a critical role in hydrothermal vent food webs as consumers and hosts of symbiotic bacteria, and as a nutritional source to higher trophic levels. We measured microbial eukaryotic cell abundance and predation pressure in low-temperature diffuse hydrothermal fluids at the Von Damm and Piccard vent fields along the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Western Caribbean Sea. We present findings from experiments performed under in situ pressure that show cell abundances and grazing rates higher than those done at 1 atmosphere (shipboard ambient pressure); this trend was attributed to the impact of depressurization on cell integrity. A relationship between the protistan grazing rate, prey cell abundance, and temperature of end-member hydrothermal vent fluid was observed at both vent fields, regardless of experimental approach. Our results show substantial protistan biomass at hydrothermally fueled microbial food webs, and when coupled with improved grazing estimates, suggest an important contribution of grazers to the local carbon export and supply of nutrient resources to the deep ocean.

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  2. Mendoza-Lera, Clara (Ed.)
    The microbial communities of lake sediments have the potential to serve as valuable bioindicators and integrators of watershed land-use and water quality; however, the relative sensitivity of these communities to physio-chemical and geographical parameters must be demonstrated at taxonomic resolutions that are feasible by current sequencing and bioinformatic approaches. The geologically diverse and lake-rich state of Minnesota (USA) is uniquely situated to address this potential because of its variability in ecological region, lake type, and watershed land-use. In this study, we selected twenty lakes with varying physio-chemical properties across four ecological regions of Minnesota. Our objectives were to (i) evaluate the diversity and composition of the bacterial community at the sediment-water interface and (ii) determine how lake location and watershed land-use impact aqueous chemistry and influence bacterial community structure. Our 16S rRNA amplicon data from lake sediment cores, at two depth intervals, data indicate that sediment communities are more likely to cluster by ecological region rather than any individual lake properties ( e . g ., trophic status, total phosphorous concentration, lake depth). However, composition is tied to a given lake, wherein samples from the same core were more alike than samples collected at similar depths across lakes. Our results illustrate the diversity within lake sediment microbial communities and provide insight into relationships between taxonomy, physicochemical, and geographic properties of north temperate lakes. 
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  3. Hydrogenotrophic methanogens are ubiquitous chemoautotrophic archaea inhabiting globally distributed deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems and associated subseafloor niches within the rocky subseafloor, yet little is known about how they adapt and diversify in these habitats. To determine genomic variation and selection pressure within methanogenic populations at vents, we examined five Methanothermococcus single cell amplified genomes (SAGs) in conjunction with 15 metagenomes and 10 metatranscriptomes from venting fluids at two geochemically distinct hydrothermal vent fields on the Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean Sea. We observed that some Methanothermococcus lineages and their transcripts were more abundant than others in individual vent sites, indicating differential fitness among lineages. The relative abundances of lineages represented by SAGs in each of the samples matched phylogenetic relationships based on single-copy universal genes, and genes related to nitrogen fixation and the CRISPR/Cas immune system were among those differentiating the clades. Lineages possessing these genes were less abundant than those missing that genomic region. Overall, patterns in nucleotide variation indicated that the population dynamics of Methanothermococcus were not governed by clonal expansions or selective sweeps, at least in the habitats and sampling times included in this study. Together, our results show that although specific lineages of Methanothermococcus co-exist in these habitats, some outcompete others, and possession of accessory metabolic functions does not necessarily provide a fitness advantage in these habitats in all conditions. This work highlights the power of combining single-cell, metagenomic, and metatranscriptomic datasets to determine how evolution shapes microbial abundance and diversity in hydrothermal vent ecosystems. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Microbial sulfur metabolism contributes to biogeochemical cycling on global scales. Sulfur metabolizing microbes are infected by phages that can encode auxiliary metabolic genes (AMGs) to alter sulfur metabolism within host cells but remain poorly characterized. Here we identified 191 phages derived from twelve environments that encoded 227 AMGs for oxidation of sulfur and thiosulfate ( dsrA , dsrC/tusE , soxC , soxD and soxYZ ). Evidence for retention of AMGs during niche-differentiation of diverse phage populations provided evidence that auxiliary metabolism imparts measurable fitness benefits to phages with ramifications for ecosystem biogeochemistry. Gene abundance and expression profiles of AMGs suggested significant contributions by phages to sulfur and thiosulfate oxidation in freshwater lakes and oceans, and a sensitive response to changing sulfur concentrations in hydrothermal environments. Overall, our study provides fundamental insights on the distribution, diversity, and ecology of phage auxiliary metabolism associated with sulfur and reinforces the necessity of incorporating viral contributions into biogeochemical configurations. 
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  5. Summary

    The structure and function of microbial communities inhabiting the subseafloor near hydrothermal systems are influenced by fluid geochemistry, geologic setting and fluid flux between vent sites, as well as biological interactions. Here, we used genome‐resolved metagenomics and metatranscriptomics to examine patterns of gene abundance and expression and assess potential niche differentiation in microbial communities in venting fluids from hydrothermal vent sites at the Mid‐Cayman Rise. We observed similar patterns in gene and transcript abundance between two geochemically distinct vent fields at the community level but found that each vent site harbours a distinct microbial community with differing transcript abundances for individual microbial populations. Through an analysis of metabolic pathways in 64 metagenome‐assembled genomes (MAGs), we show that MAG transcript abundance can be tied to differences in metabolic pathways and to potential metabolic interactions between microbial populations, allowing for niche‐partitioning and divergence in both population distribution and activity. Our results illustrate that most microbial populations have a restricted distribution within the seafloor, and that the activity of those microbial populations is tied to both genome content and abiotic factors.

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  6. Abstract

    Single‐celled microbial eukaryotes inhabit deep‐sea hydrothermal vent environments and play critical ecological roles in the vent‐associated microbial food web. 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing of diffuse venting fluids from four geographically‐ and geochemically‐distinct hydrothermal vent fields was applied to investigate community diversity patterns among protistan assemblages. The four vent fields include Axial Seamount at the Juan de Fuca Ridge, Sea Cliff and Apollo at the Gorda Ridge, all in the NE Pacific Ocean, and Piccard and Von Damm at the Mid‐Cayman Rise in the Caribbean Sea. We describe species diversity patterns with respect to hydrothermal vent field and sample type, identify putative vent endemic microbial eukaryotes, and test how vent fluid geochemistry may influence microbial community diversity. At a semi‐global scale, microbial eukaryotic communities at deep‐sea vents were composed of similar proportions of dinoflagellates, ciliates, Rhizaria, and stramenopiles. Individual vent fields supported distinct and highly diverse assemblages of protists that included potentially endemic or novel vent‐associated strains. These findings represent a census of deep‐sea hydrothermal vent protistan communities. Protistan diversity, which is shaped by the hydrothermal vent environment at a local scale, ultimately influences the vent‐associated microbial food web and the broader deep‐sea carbon cycle.

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