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  1. Abstract Background

    During the bloom season, the colonial cyanobacteriumMicrocystisforms complex aggregates which include a diverse microbiome within an exopolymer matrix. Early research postulated a simple mutualism existing with bacteria benefitting from the rich source of fixed carbon andMicrocystisreceiving recycled nutrients. Researchers have since hypothesized thatMicrocystisaggregates represent a community of synergistic and interacting species, an interactome, each with unique metabolic capabilities that are critical to the growth, maintenance, and demise ofMicrocystisblooms. Research has also shown that aggregate-associated bacteria are taxonomically different from free-living bacteria in the surrounding water. Moreover, research has identified little overlap in functional potential betweenMicrocystisand members of its microbiome, further supporting the interactome concept. However, we still lack verification of general interaction and know little about the taxa and metabolic pathways supporting nutrient and metabolite cycling withinMicrocystisaggregates.


    During a 7-month study of bacterial communities comparing free-living and aggregate-associated bacteria in Lake Taihu, China, we found that aerobic anoxygenic phototrophic (AAP) bacteria were significantly more abundant withinMicrocystisaggregates than in free-living samples, suggesting a possible functional role for AAP bacteria in overall aggregate community function. We then analyzed gene composition in 102 high-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of bloom-microbiome bacteria from 10 lakes spanning four continents, compared with 12 completeMicrocystisgenomes which revealed that microbiome bacteria andMicrocystispossessed complementary biochemical pathways that could serve in C, N, S, and P cycling. Mapping published transcripts fromMicrocystisblooms onto a comprehensive AAP and non-AAP bacteria MAG database (226 MAGs) indicated that observed high levels of expression of genes involved in nutrient cycling pathways were in AAP bacteria.


    Our results provide strong corroboration of the hypothesizedMicrocystisinteractome and the first evidence that AAP bacteria may play an important role in nutrient cycling withinMicrocystisaggregate microbiomes.

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  2. WISE J224607.6–052634.9 (W2246–0526) is a hot dust-obscured galaxy atz = 4.601, and the most luminous obscured quasar known to date. W2246–0526 harbors a heavily obscured supermassive black hole that is most likely accreting above the Eddington limit. We present observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in seven bands, including band 10, of the brightest far-infrared (FIR) fine-structure emission lines of this galaxy: [OI]63 μm, [OIII]88 μm, [NII]122 μm, [OI]145 μm, [CII]158 μm, [NII]205 μm, [CI]370 μm, and [CI]609 μm. A comparison of the data to a large grid of CLOUDYradiative transfer models reveals that a high hydrogen density (nH ∼ 3 × 103cm−3) and extinction (AV ∼ 300 mag), together with extreme ionization (log(U) = − 0.5) and a high X-ray to UV ratio (αox ≥ −0.8) are required to reproduce the observed nuclear line ratios. The values ofαoxandUare among the largest found in the literature and imply the existence of an X-ray-dominated region (XDR). In fact, this component explains the a priori very surprising non-detection of the [OIII]88 μmemission line, which is actually suppressed, instead of boosted, in XDR environments. Interestingly, the best-fitted model implies higher X-ray emission and lower CO content than what is detected observationally, suggesting the presence of a molecular gas component that should be further obscuring the X-ray emission over larger spatial scales than the central region that is being modeled. These results highlight the need for multiline infrared observations to characterize the multiphase gas in high redshift quasars and, in particular, W2246–0526 serves as an extreme benchmark for comparisons of interstellar medium conditions with other quasar populations at cosmic noon and beyond.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Ergodicity, the central tenet of statistical mechanics, requires an isolated system to explore all available phase space constrained by energy and symmetry. Mechanisms for violating ergodicity are of interest for probing nonequilibrium matter and protecting quantum coherence in complex systems. Polyatomic molecules have long served as a platform for probing ergodicity breaking in vibrational energy transport. Here, we report the observation of rotational ergodicity breaking in an unprecedentedly large molecule,12C60, determined from its icosahedral rovibrational fine structure. The ergodicity breaking occurs well below the vibrational ergodicity threshold and exhibits multiple transitions between ergodic and nonergodic regimes with increasing angular momentum. These peculiar dynamics result from the molecule’s distinctive combination of symmetry, size, and rigidity, highlighting its relevance to emergent phenomena in mesoscopic quantum systems.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 18, 2024
  4. Cryptic diversity in Microcystis may explain ecotype variability across morphospecies. 
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  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2024
  6. Particulate methane monooxygenase (pMMO), a membrane-bound enzyme having three subunits (α, β, and γ) and copper-containing centers, is found in most of the methanotrophs that selectively catalyze the oxidation of methane into methanol. Active sites in the pMMO of Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b were determined by docking the modeled structure with ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene. The docking energy between the modeled pMMO structure and ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene was −5.2, −5.7, −4.2, and −3.8 kcal/mol, respectively, suggesting the existence of more than one active site within the monomeric subunits due to the presence of multiple binding sites within the pMMO monomer. The evaluation of tunnels and cavities of the active sites and the docking results showed that each active site is specific to the radius of the substrate. To increase the catalysis rates of methane in the pMMO of M. trichosporium OB3b, selected amino acid residues interacting at the binding site of ethylbenzene, toluene, 1,3-dibutadiene, and trichloroethylene were mutated. Based on screening the strain energy, docking energy, and physiochemical properties, five mutants were downselected, B:Leu31Ser, B:Phe96Gly, B:Phe92Thr, B:Trp106Ala, and B:Tyr110Phe, which showed the docking energy of −6.3, −6.7, −6.3, −6.5, and −6.5 kcal/mol, respectively, as compared to the wild type (−5.2 kcal/mol) with ethylbenzene. These results suggest that these five mutants would likely increase methane oxidation rates compared to wild-type pMMO. 
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  7. Abstract We have more data about wildlife trafficking than ever before, but it remains underutilized for decision-making. Central to effective wildlife trafficking interventions is collection, aggregation, and analysis of data across a range of source, transit, and destination geographies. Many data are geospatial, but these data cannot be effectively accessed or aggregated without appropriate geospatial data standards. Our goal was to create geospatial data standards to help advance efforts to combat wildlife trafficking. We achieved our goal using voluntary, participatory, and engagement-based workshops with diverse and multisectoral stakeholders, online portals, and electronic communication with more than 100 participants on three continents. The standards support data-to-decision efforts in the field, for example indictments of key figures within wildlife trafficking, and disruption of their networks. Geospatial data standards help enable broader utilization of wildlife trafficking data across disciplines and sectors, accelerate aggregation and analysis of data across space and time, advance evidence-based decision making, and reduce wildlife trafficking. 
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