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Creators/Authors contains: "Cole, James R."

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  1. Abstract

    There is an increasing interest in the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats CRISPR-associated protein (CRISPR-Cas) system to reveal potential virus–host dynamics. The universal and most conserved Cas protein,cas1is an ideal marker to elucidate CRISPR-Cas ecology. We constructed eight Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) and assembledcas1directly from metagenomes by a targeted-gene assembler, Xander, to improve detection capacity and resolve the diverse CRISPR-Cas systems. The eight HMMs were first validated by recovering all 17cas1subtypes from the simulated metagenome generated from 91 prokaryotic genomes across 11 phyla. We challenged the targeted method with 48 metagenomes from a tallgrass prairie in Central Oklahoma recovering 3394cas1. Among those, 88 were near full length, 5 times more than in de-novo assemblies from the Oklahoma metagenomes. To validate the host assignment bycas1, the targeted-assembledcas1was mapped to the de-novo assembled contigs. All the phylum assignments of those mapped contigs were assigned independent of CRISPR-Cas genes on the same contigs and consistent with the host taxonomies predicted by the mappedcas1. We then investigated whether 8 years of soil warming alteredcas1prevalence within the communities. A shift in microbial abundances was observed during the year with the biggest temperature differential (mean 4.16 °C above ambient).cas1prevalence increased and even in the phyla with decreased microbial abundances over the next 3 years, suggesting increasing virus–host interactions in response to soil warming. This targeted method provides an alternative means to effectively minecas1from metagenomes and uncover the host communities.

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  2. ABSTRACT Tundra ecosystems are typically carbon (C) rich but nitrogen (N) limited. Since biological N 2 fixation is the major source of biologically available N, the soil N 2 -fixing (i.e., diazotrophic) community serves as an essential N supplier to the tundra ecosystem. Recent climate warming has induced deeper permafrost thaw and adversely affected C sequestration, which is modulated by N availability. Therefore, it is crucial to examine the responses of diazotrophic communities to warming across the depths of tundra soils. Herein, we carried out one of the deepest sequencing efforts of nitrogenase gene ( nifH ) to investigate how 5 years of experimental winter warming affects Alaskan soil diazotrophic community composition and abundance spanning both the organic and mineral layers. Although soil depth had a stronger influence on diazotrophic community composition than warming, warming significantly ( P <  0.05) enhanced diazotrophic abundance by 86.3% and aboveground plant biomass by 25.2%. Diazotrophic composition in the middle and lower organic layers, detected by nifH sequencing and a microarray-based tool (GeoChip), was markedly altered, with an increase of α-diversity. Changes in diazotrophic abundance and composition significantly correlated with soil moisture, soil thaw duration, and plant biomass, as shown by structural equation modeling analyses. Therefore, more abundant diazotrophic communities induced by warming may potentially serve as an important mechanism for supplementing biologically available N in this tundra ecosystem. IMPORTANCE With the likelihood that changes in global climate will adversely affect the soil C reservoir in the northern circumpolar permafrost zone, an understanding of the potential role of diazotrophic communities in enhancing biological N 2 fixation, which constrains both plant production and microbial decomposition in tundra soils, is important in elucidating the responses of soil microbial communities to global climate change. A recent study showed that the composition of the diazotrophic community in a tundra soil exhibited no change under a short-term (1.5-year) winter warming experiment. However, it remains crucial to examine whether the lack of diazotrophic community responses to warming is persistent over a longer time period as a possibly important mechanism in stabilizing tundra soil C. Through a detailed characterization of the effects of winter warming on diazotrophic communities, we showed that a long-term (5-year) winter warming substantially enhanced diazotrophic abundance and altered community composition, though soil depth had a stronger influence on diazotrophic community composition than warming. These changes were best explained by changes in soil moisture, soil thaw duration, and plant biomass. These results provide crucial insights into the potential factors that may impact future C and N availability in tundra regions. 
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  3. Abstract

    Increases in carbon (C) inputs to soil can replenish soil organic C (SOC) through various mechanisms. However, recent studies have suggested that the increased C input can also stimulate the decomposition of old SOC via priming. Whether the loss of old SOC by priming can override C replenishment has not been rigorously examined. Here we show, through data–model synthesis, that the magnitude of replenishment is greater than that of priming, resulting in a net increase in SOC by a mean of 32% of the added new C. The magnitude of the net increase in SOC is positively correlated with the nitrogen-to-C ratio of the added substrates. Additionally, model evaluation indicates that a two-pool interactive model is a parsimonious model to represent the SOC decomposition with priming and replenishment. Our findings suggest that increasing C input to soils likely promote SOC accumulation despite the enhanced decomposition of old C via priming.

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