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Creators/Authors contains: "Harvey, Elizabeth L."

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  1. Abstract

    Microbial associations that result in phytoplankton mortality are important for carbon transport in the ocean. This includes parasitism, which in microbial food webs is dominated by the marine alveolate group, Syndiniales. Parasites are expected to contribute to carbon recycling via host lysis; however, knowledge on host dynamics and correlation to carbon export remain unclear and limit the inclusion of parasitism in biogeochemical models. We analyzed a 4-year 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding dataset (2016–19), performing network analysis for 12 discrete depths (1–1000 m) to determine Syndiniales–host associations in the seasonally oligotrophic Sargasso Sea. Analogous water column and sediment trap data were included to define environmental drivers of Syndiniales and their correlation with particulate carbon flux (150 m). Syndiniales accounted for 48–74% of network edges, most often associated with Dinophyceae and Arthropoda (mainly copepods) at the surface and Rhizaria (Polycystinea, Acantharea, and RAD-B) in the aphotic zone. Syndiniales were the only eukaryote group to be significantly (and negatively) correlated with particulate carbon flux, indicating their contribution to flux attenuation via remineralization. Examination of Syndiniales amplicons revealed a range of depth patterns, including specific ecological niches and vertical connection among a subset (19%) of the community, the latter implying sinking of parasites (infected hosts or spores) on particles. Our findings elevate the critical role of Syndiniales in marine microbial systems and reveal their potential use as biomarkers for carbon export.

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  2. McMahon, Katherine (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Interactions between phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria fundamentally shape marine ecosystems by controlling primary production, structuring marine food webs, mediating carbon export, and influencing global climate. Phytoplankton-bacterium interactions are facilitated by secreted compounds; however, linking these chemical signals, their mechanisms of action, and their resultant ecological consequences remains a fundamental challenge. The bacterial quorum-sensing signal 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ) induces immediate, yet reversible, cellular stasis (no cell division or mortality) in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi ; however, the mechanism responsible remains unknown. Using transcriptomic and proteomic approaches in combination with diagnostic biochemical and fluorescent cell-based assays, we show that HHQ exposure leads to prolonged S-phase arrest in phytoplankton coincident with the accumulation of DNA damage and a lack of repair despite the induction of the DNA damage response (DDR). While this effect is reversible, HHQ-exposed phytoplankton were also protected from viral mortality, ascribing a new role of quorum-sensing signals in regulating multitrophic interactions. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that in situ measurements of HHQ coincide with areas of enhanced micro- and nanoplankton biomass. Our results suggest bacterial communication signals as emerging players that may be one of the contributing factors that help structure complex microbial communities throughout the ocean. IMPORTANCE Bacteria and phytoplankton form close associations in the ocean that are driven by the exchange of chemical compounds. The bacterial signal 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ) slows phytoplankton growth; however, the mechanism responsible remains unknown. Here, we show that HHQ exposure leads to the accumulation of DNA damage in phytoplankton and prevents its repair. While this effect is reversible, HHQ-exposed phytoplankton are also relieved of viral mortality, elevating the ecological consequences of this complex interaction. Further results indicate that HHQ may target phytoplankton proteins involved in nucleotide biosynthesis and DNA repair, both of which are crucial targets for viral success. Our results support microbial cues as emerging players in marine ecosystems, providing a new mechanistic framework for how bacterial communication signals mediate interspecies and interkingdom behaviors. 
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  3. Phytoplankton play a central role in the regulation of global carbon and nutrient cycles, forming the basis of the marine food webs. A group of biogeochemically important phytoplankton, the coccolithophores, produce calcium carbonate scales that have been hypothesized to deter or reduce grazing by microzooplankton. Here, a meta-analysis of mesocosm-based experiments demonstrates that calcification of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore, Emiliania huxleyi , fails to deter microzooplankton grazing. The median grazing to growth ratio for E. huxleyi (0.56 ± 0.40) was not significantly different among non-calcified nano- or picoeukaryotes (0.71 ± 0.31 and 0.55 ± 0.34, respectively). Additionally, the environmental concentration of E. huxleyi did not drive preferential grazing of non-calcified groups. These results strongly suggest that the possession of coccoliths does not provide E. huxleyi effective protection from microzooplankton grazing. Such indiscriminate consumption has implications for the dissolution and fate of CaCO 3 in the ocean, and the evolution of coccoliths. 
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  4. Abstract

    Seasonal shifts in phytoplankton accumulation and loss largely follow changes in mixed layer depth, but the impact of mixed layer depth on cell physiology remains unexplored. Here, we investigate the physiological state of phytoplankton populations associated with distinct bloom phases and mixing regimes in the North Atlantic. Stratification and deep mixing alter community physiology and viral production, effectively shaping accumulation rates. Communities in relatively deep, early-spring mixed layers are characterized by low levels of stress and high accumulation rates, while those in the recently shallowed mixed layers in late-spring have high levels of oxidative stress. Prolonged stratification into early autumn manifests in negative accumulation rates, along with pronounced signatures of compromised membranes, death-related protease activity, virus production, nutrient drawdown, and lipid markers indicative of nutrient stress. Positive accumulation renews during mixed layer deepening with transition into winter, concomitant with enhanced nutrient supply and lessened viral pressure.

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  5. Abstract

    Eukaryotic phytoplankton contribute to the flow of elements through marine food webs, biogeochemical cycles, and Earth’s climate. Therefore, how phytoplankton die is a critical determinate of the flow and fate of nutrients. While heterotroph grazing and viral infection contribute to phytoplankton mortality, recent evidence suggests that bacteria-derived cues also control phytoplankton lysis. Here, we report exposure to nanomolar concentrations of 2,3,4,5-tetrabromopyrrole (TBP), a brominated chemical cue synthesized by marine γ-proteobacteria, resulted in mortality of seven phylogenetically-diverse phytoplankton species. A comparison of nine compounds of marine-origin containing a range of cyclic moieties and halogenation indicated that both a single pyrrole ring and increased bromination were most lethal to the coccolithophore,Emiliania huxleyi. TBP also rapidly induced the production of reactive oxygen species and the release of intracellular calcium stores, both of which can trigger the activation of cellular death pathways. Mining of the Ocean Gene Atlas indicated that TBP biosynthetic machinery is globally distributed throughout the water column in coastal areas. These findings suggest that bacterial cues play multiple functions in regulating phytoplankton communities by inducing biochemical changes associated with cellular death. Chemically-induced lysis by bacterial infochemicals is yet another variable that must be considered when modeling oceanic nutrient dynamics.

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