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  1. Abstract Background

    Diverse communities of microbial eukaryotes in the global ocean provide a variety of essential ecosystem services, from primary production and carbon flow through trophic transfer to cooperation via symbioses. Increasingly, these communities are being understood through the lens of omics tools, which enable high-throughput processing of diverse communities. Metatranscriptomics offers an understanding of near real-time gene expression in microbial eukaryotic communities, providing a window into community metabolic activity.


    Here we present a workflow for eukaryotic metatranscriptome assembly, and validate the ability of the pipeline to recapitulate real and manufactured eukaryotic community-level expression data. We also include an open-source tool for simulating environmental metatranscriptomes for testing and validation purposes. We reanalyze previously published metatranscriptomic datasets using our metatranscriptome analysis approach.


    We determined that a multi-assembler approach improves eukaryotic metatranscriptome assembly based on recapitulated taxonomic and functional annotations from an in-silico mock community. The systematic validation of metatranscriptome assembly and annotation methods provided here is a necessary step to assess the fidelity of our community composition measurements and functional content assignments from eukaryotic metatranscriptomes.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. From June to August 2018, the eruption of Kīlauea volcano on the island of Hawai‘i injected millions of cubic meters of molten lava into the nutrient-poor waters of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. The lava-impacted seawater was characterized by high concentrations of metals and nutrients that stimulated phytoplankton growth, resulting in an extensive plume of chlorophyll a that was detectable by satellite. Chemical and molecular evidence revealed that this biological response hinged on unexpectedly high concentrations of nitrate, despite the negligible quantities of nitrogen in basaltic lava. We hypothesize that the high nitrate was caused by buoyant plumes of nutrient-rich deep waters created by the substantial input of lava into the ocean. This large-scale ocean fertilization was therefore a unique perturbation event that revealed how marine ecosystems respond to exogenous inputs of nutrients.