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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract. Bioactive trace metals are critical micronutrients for marinemicroorganisms due to their role in mediating biological redox reactions,and complex biogeochemical processes control their distributions.Hydrothermal vents may represent an important source of metals tomicroorganisms, especially those inhabiting low-iron waters, such as in thesouthwest Pacific Ocean. Previous measurements of primordial 3Heindicate a significant hydrothermal source originating in the northeastern (NE)Lau Basin, with the plume advecting into the southwest Pacific Ocean at1500–2000 m depth (Lupton etal., 2004). Studies investigating the long-range transport of trace metalsassociated with such dispersing plumes are rare, and the biogeochemicalimpacts on local microbial physiology have not yet been described. Here wequantified dissolved metals and assessed microbial metaproteomes across atransect spanning the tropical and equatorial Pacific with a focus on thehydrothermally active NE Lau Basin and report elevated iron and manganeseconcentrations across 441 km of the southwest Pacific. The most intensesignal was detected near the Mangatolo Triple Junction (MTJ) and NortheastLau Spreading Center (NELSC), in close proximity to the previously reported3He signature. Protein content in distal-plume-influenced seawater,which was high in metals, was overall similar to background locations,though key prokaryotic proteins involved in metal and organic uptake,protein degradation, and chemoautotrophy were abundant compared to deepwaters outside of the distal plume. Our results demonstratemore »that tracemetals derived from the NE Lau Basin are transported over appreciabledistances into the southwest Pacific Ocean and that bioactive chemicalresources released from submarine vent systems are utilized by surroundingdeep-sea microbes, influencing both their physiology and their contributionsto ocean biogeochemical cycling.« less
  4. Despite very low concentrations of cobalt in marine waters, cyanobacteria in the genus Prochlorococcus retain the genetic machinery for the synthesis and use of cobalt-bearing cofactors (cobalamins) in their genomes. We explore cobalt metabolism in a Prochlorococcus isolate from the equatorial Pacific Ocean (strain MIT9215) through a series of growth experiments under iron- and cobalt-limiting conditions. Metal uptake rates, quantitative proteomic measurements of cobalamin-dependent enzymes, and theoretical calculations all indicate that Prochlorococcus MIT9215 can sustain growth with less than 50 cobalt atoms per cell, ∼100-fold lower than minimum iron requirements for these cells (∼5,100 atoms per cell). Quantitative descriptions of Prochlorococcus cobalt limitation are used to interpret the cobalt distribution in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, where surface concentrations are among the lowest measured globally but Prochlorococcus biomass is high. A low minimum cobalt quota ensures that other nutrients, notably iron, will be exhausted before cobalt can be fully depleted, helping to explain the persistence of cobalt-dependent metabolism in marine cyanobacteria.