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  1. Abstract

    Niche theory suggests that the realized niche occupied by an organism in the field is a subset of the fundamental niche space of the organism, absent additional biotic and abiotic factors. Though often assumed, this discrepancy is rarely tested for specific organisms, and could act as a source of error in model predictions of biogeographical shifts resulting from temperature change which assume niche theory constraints. Here, we quantify the difference between fundamental and realized temperature niches for four dominant ecotypes ofProchlorococcus, including eMED4, eMIT9312, eMIT9313, and eNATL2A, and ask whether the realized temperature niches of each ecotype vary across ocean basins. The realized niches for the four ecotypes are, on average, 3.84°C ± 1.18°C colder (mean ± SD across all ocean basins and ecotypes) and 2.15°C ± 1.89°C wider than the lab‐measured fundamental niches. When divided into four ocean regions—North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Pacific—we find that the realized temperature niche optimum for a given ecotype compared to the fundamental temperature niche optimum differs across regions by as much as 7.93°C, while the niche width can differ by up to 9.48°C. Colder and wider realized niches may be a result of the metabolic risk associated with living in variable environments when themore »mean temperature is too close to the optimal temperature for growth or due to physical processes such as dispersal. The strong differences in temperature niches across ocean basins suggest that unresolved genetic diversity within ecotypes, local adaptation, and variable interactive ecological and environmental factors are likely to be important in shapingProchlorococcusrealized temperature niches.

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  2. Summary

    The physical and biological dynamics that influence phytoplankton communities in the oligotrophic ocean are complex, changing across broad temporal and spatial scales. Eukaryotic phytoplankton (e.g., diatoms), despite their relatively low abundance in oligotrophic waters, are responsible for a large component of the organic matter flux to the ocean interior. Mesoscale eddies can impact both microbial community structure and function, enhancing primary production and carbon export, but the mechanisms that underpin these dynamics are still poorly understood. Here, mesoscale eddy influences on the taxonomic diversity and expressed functional profiles of surface communities of microeukaryotes and particle‐associated heterotrophic bacteria from the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre were assessed over 2 years (spring 2016 and summer 2017). The taxonomic diversity of the microeukaryotes significantly differed by eddy polarity (cyclonic versus anticyclonic) and between sampling seasons/years and was significantly correlated with the taxonomic diversity of particle‐associated heterotrophic bacteria. The expressed functional profile of these taxonomically distinct microeukaryotes varied consistently as a function of eddy polarity, with cyclones having a different expression pattern than anticyclones, and between sampling seasons/years. These data suggest that mesoscale forcing, and associated changes in biogeochemistry, could drive specific physiological responses in the resident microeukaryote community, independent of species composition.

  3. Abstract

    The carbon isotope fractionation in algal organic matter (εp), including the long‐chain alkenones produced by the coccolithophorid family Noelaerhabdaceae, is used to reconstruct past atmospheric CO2levels. The conventional proxy linearly relates εpto changes in cellular carbon demand relative to diffusive CO2supply, with larger εpvalues occurring at lower carbon demand relative to supply (i.e., abundant CO2). However, the response ofGephyrocapsa oceanica, one of the dominant alkenone producers of the last few million years, has not been studied closely. Here, we subjectG. oceanicato various CO2levels by increasing pCO2in the culture headspace, as opposed to increasing dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and alkalinity concentrations at constant pH. We note no substantial change in physiology, but observe an increase in εpas carbon demand relative to supply decreases, consistent with DIC manipulations. We compile existing Noelaerhabdaceae εpdata and show that the diffusive model poorly describes the data. A meta‐analysis of individual treatments (unique combinations of lab, strain, and light conditions) shows that the slope of the εpresponse depends on the light conditions and range of carbon demand relative to CO2supply in the treatment, which is incompatible with the diffusive model. We model εpas a multilinear function of key physiological and environmental variables and find thatmore »both photoperiod duration and light intensity are critical parameters, in addition to CO2and cell size. While alkenone carbon isotope ratios indeed record CO2information, irradiance and other factors are also necessary to properly describe alkenone εp.

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  4. Summary

    Emiliania huxleyiis a calcifying haptophyte, contributing to both the organic and inorganic marine carbon cycles. In marine ecosystems, light is a major driver of phytoplankton physiology and ultimately carbon flow through the ecosystem. Here, we analysed a Lagrangian time‐series of metatranscriptomes collected in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) to examine howin situpopulations ofE.huxleyimodulate gene expression over day–night transitions. ManyE.huxleyicontigs had a diel expression pattern, with 61% of contigs clustering into modules with statistically significant diel periodicity. Contigs involved in processes that build up energy stores, like carbon fixation and lipid synthesis, peaked around dawn. In contrast, contigs involved in processes that released energy stores, like respiration and lipid degradation, peaked mid‐day and towards dusk. These patterns suggest an orchestrated cycle of building, then consuming energy stores inE.huxleyipopulations in the NPSG. Selected contigs related to the cell cycle also exhibited significant diel periodicity consistent with phased modulations of division observed in culture. Overall, these patterns of gene expression suggest a daily metabolic cascade that could contribute to both organic and inorganic carbon flow in this nutrient depleted ecosystem.