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  1. Certain benthic foraminifera thrive in marine sediments with low or undetectable oxygen. Potential survival avenues used by these supposedly aerobic protists include fermentation and anaerobic respiration, although details on their adaptive mechanisms remain elusive. To better understand the metabolic versatility of foraminifera, we studied two benthic species that thrive in oxygen-depleted marine sediments. Here we detail, via transcriptomics and metatranscriptomics, differential gene expression of Nonionella stella and Bolivina argentea , collected from Santa Barbara Basin, California, USA, in response to varied oxygenation and chemical amendments. Organelle-specific metabolic reconstructions revealed these two species utilize adaptable mitochondrial and peroxisomal metabolism. N. stella , most abundant in anoxia and characterized by lack of food vacuoles and abundance of intracellular lipid droplets, was predicted to couple the putative peroxisomal beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle with a versatile electron transport system and a partial TCA cycle. In contrast, B. argentea , most abundant in hypoxia and contains food vacuoles, was predicted to utilize the putative peroxisomal gluconeogenesis and a full TCA cycle but lacks the expression of key beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle genes. These metabolic adaptations likely confer ecological success while encountering deoxygenation and expand our understanding of metabolic modifications and interactions between mitochondria and peroxisomesmore »in protists.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 2, 2023
  2. Abstract

    Corals nucleate and grow aragonite crystals, organizing them into intricate skeletal structures that ultimately build the world’s coral reefs. Crystallography and chemistry have profound influence on the material properties of these skeletal building blocks, yet gaps remain in our knowledge about coral aragonite on the atomic scale. Across a broad diversity of shallow-water and deep-sea scleractinian corals from vastly different environments, coral aragonites are remarkably similar to one another, confirming that corals exert control on the carbonate chemistry of the calcifying space relative to the surrounding seawater. Nuances in coral aragonite structures relate most closely to trace element chemistry and aragonite saturation state, suggesting the primary controls on aragonite structure are ionic strength and trace element chemistry, with growth rate playing a secondary role. We also show how coral aragonites are crystallographically indistinguishable from synthetic abiogenic aragonite analogs precipitated from seawater under conditions mimicking coral calcifying fluid. In contrast, coral aragonites are distinct from geologically formed aragonites, a synthetic aragonite precipitated from a freshwater solution, and mollusk aragonites. Crystallographic signatures have future applications in understanding the material properties of coral aragonite and predicting the persistence of coral reefs in a rapidly changing ocean.

  3. Raina, Jean-Baptiste (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Microbial relationships are critical to coral health, and changes in microbiomes are often exhibited following environmental disturbance. However, the dynamics of coral-microbial composition and external factors that govern coral microbiome assembly and response to disturbance remain largely uncharacterized. Here, we investigated how antibiotic-induced disturbance affects the coral mucus microbiota in the facultatively symbiotic temperate coral Astrangia poculata , which occurs naturally with high (symbiotic) or low (aposymbiotic) densities of the endosymbiotic dinoflagellate Breviolum psygmophilum . We also explored how differences in the mucus microbiome of natural and disturbed A. poculata colonies affected levels of extracellular superoxide, a reactive oxygen species thought to have both beneficial and detrimental effects on coral health. Using a bacterial and archaeal small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequencing approach, we found that antibiotic exposure significantly altered the composition of the mucus microbiota but that it did not influence superoxide levels, suggesting that superoxide production in A. poculata is not influenced by the mucus microbiota. In antibiotic-treated A. poculata exposed to ambient seawater, mucus microbiota recovered to its initial state within 2 weeks following exposure, and six bacterial taxa played a prominent role in this reassembly. Microbial composition among symbiotic colonies was more similar throughout the 2-weekmore »recovery period than that among aposymbiotic colonies, whose microbiota exhibited significantly more interindividual variability after antibiotic treatment and during recovery. This work suggests that the A. poculata mucus microbiome can rapidly reestablish itself and that the presence of B. psygmophilum , perhaps by supplying nutrients, photosynthate, or other signaling molecules, exerts influence on this process. IMPORTANCE Corals are animals whose health is often maintained by symbiotic microalgae and other microorganisms, yet they are highly susceptible to environmental-related disturbances. Here, we used a known disruptor, antibiotics, to understand how the coral mucus microbial community reassembles itself following disturbance. We show that the Astrangia poculata microbiome can recover from this disturbance and that individuals with algal symbionts reestablish their microbiomes in a more consistent manner compared to corals lacking symbionts. This work is important because it suggests that this coral may be able to recover its mucus microbiome following disturbance, it identifies specific microbes that may be important to reassembly, and it demonstrates that algal symbionts may play a previously undocumented role in microbial recovery and resilience to environmental change.« less
  4. Abstract

    The keystone marine nitrogen fixerTrichodesmiumthrives in high-dust environments. While laboratory investigations have observed thatTrichodesmiumcolonies can access the essential nutrient iron from dust particles, less clear are the biochemical strategies underlying particle–colony interactions in nature. Here we demonstrate thatTrichodesmiumcolonies engage with mineral particles in the wild with distinct molecular responses. We encountered particle-ladenTrichodesmiumcolonies at a sampling location in the Southern Caribbean Sea; microscopy and synchrotron-based imaging then demonstrated heterogeneous associations with iron oxide and iron-silicate minerals. Metaproteomic analysis of individual colonies by a new low-biomass approach revealed responses in biogeochemically relevant proteins including photosynthesis proteins and metalloproteins containing iron, nickel, copper, and zinc. The iron-storage protein ferritin was particularly enriched implying accumulation of mineral-derived iron, and multiple iron acquisition pathways including Fe(II), Fe(III), and Fe-siderophore transporters were engaged. While the particles provided key trace metals such as iron and nickel, there was also evidence thatTrichodesmiumwas altering its strategy to confront increased superoxide production and metal exposure. Chemotaxis regulators also responded to mineral presence suggesting involvement in particle entrainment. These molecular responses are fundamental toTrichodesmium’secological success and global biogeochemical impact, and may contribute to the leaching of particulate trace metals with implications for global iron and carbon cycling.

  5. The balance between sources and sinks of molecular oxygen in the oceans has greatly impacted the composition of Earth’s atmosphere since the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, thereby exerting key influence on Earth’s climate and the redox state of (sub)surface Earth. The canonical source and sink terms of the marine oxygen budget include photosynthesis, respiration, photorespiration, the Mehler reaction, and other smaller terms. However, recent advances in understanding cryptic oxygen cycling, namely the ubiquitous one-electron reduction of O 2 to superoxide by microorganisms outside the cell, remains unexplored as a potential player in global oxygen dynamics. Here we show that dark extracellular superoxide production by marine microbes represents a previously unconsidered global oxygen flux and sink comparable in magnitude to other key terms. We estimate that extracellular superoxide production represents a gross oxygen sink comprising about a third of marine gross oxygen production, and a net oxygen sink amounting to 15 to 50% of that. We further demonstrate that this total marine dark extracellular superoxide flux is consistent with concentrations of superoxide in marine environments. These findings underscore prolific marine sources of reactive oxygen species and a complex and dynamic oxygen cycle in which oxygen consumption and corresponding carbon oxidation aremore »not necessarily confined to cell membranes or exclusively related to respiration. This revised model of the marine oxygen cycle will ultimately allow for greater reconciliation among estimates of primary production and respiration and a greater mechanistic understanding of redox cycling in the ocean.« less