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  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate (cGAMP), produced by cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS), stimulates the production of type I interferons (IFN). Here we show that cGAMP activates DNA damage response (DDR) signaling independently of its canonical IFN pathways. Loss of cGAS dampens DDR signaling induced by genotoxic insults. Mechanistically, cGAS activates DDR in a STING-TBK1-dependent manner, wherein TBK1 stimulates the autophosphorylation of the DDR kinase ATM, with the consequent activation of the CHK2-p53-p21 signal transduction pathway and the induction of G1 cell cycle arrest. Despite its stimulatory activity on ATM, cGAMP suppresses homology-directed repair (HDR) through the inhibition of polyADP-ribosylation (PARylation), in which cGAMP reduces cellular levels of NAD + ; meanwhile, restoring NAD + levels abrogates cGAMP-mediated suppression of PARylation and HDR. Finally, we show that cGAMP also activates DDR signaling in invertebrate species lacking IFN ( Crassostrea virginica and Nematostella vectensis ), suggesting that the genome surveillance mechanism of cGAS predates metazoan interferon-based immunity. 
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  2. Olfactory systems in animals play a major role in finding food and mates, avoiding predators, and communication. Chemical tracking in odorant plumes has typically been considered a spatial information problem where individuals navigate towards higher concentration. Recent research involving chemosensory neurons in the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, show they possess rhythmically active or ‘bursting’ olfactory receptor neurons that respond to the intermittency in the odor signal. This suggests a possible, previously unexplored olfactory search strategy that enables lobsters to utilize the temporal variability within a turbulent plume to track the source. This study utilized computational fluid dynamics to simulate the turbulent dispersal of odorants and assess a number of search strategies thought to aid lobsters. These strategies include quantification of concentration magnitude using chemosensory antennules and leg chemosensors, simultaneous sampling of water velocities using antennule mechanosensors, and utilization of antennules to quantify intermittency of the odorant plume. Results show that lobsters can utilize intermittency in the odorant signal to track an odorant plume faster and with greater success in finding the source than utilizing concentration alone. However, the additional use of lobster leg chemosensors reduced search time compared to both antennule intermittency and concentration strategies alone by providing spatially separated odorant sensors along the body. 
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  3. Abstract

    Seagrass growth and senescence exert a strong influence on flow structure and sediment transport processes in coastal environments. However, most previous studies of seasonal seagrass effects either focused on small‐scale field measurements or did not fully resolve the synergistic effects of flow‐wave‐vegetation‐sediment interaction at a meadow scale. In this study, we applied a coupled Delft3D‐FLOW and SWAN model that included effects of seagrass on flow, waves, and sediment resuspension in a shallow coastal bay to quantify seasonal seagrass impacts on bay dynamics. The model was extensively validated using seasonal field hydrodynamic and suspended sediment data within a seagrass meadow and a nearby unvegetated site. Our results show that seagrass meadows significantly attenuated flow (60%) and waves (20%) and reduced suspended sediment concentration (85%) during summer when its density reached a maximum. Probability density distributions of combined wave‐current bed shear stress within the seagrass meadow indicate that significant reductions in sediment resuspension during summer were mainly caused by flow retardation rather than wave attenuation. Although low‐density seagrass in winter resulted in much smaller reductions in flow and waves compared with summer meadows, small changes in winter seagrass density resulted in large differences in the magnitude of attenuation of flow and shear stress. Similarly, while high seagrass densities effectively trapped sediment during summer, small changes in winter density resulted in strong changes in net sediment flux into/out of the meadow. At our study site, low seagrass densities provided significant reductions in wintertime sediment loss compared to losses associated with completely unvegetated conditions.

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  4. null (Ed.)
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  6. Abstract

    Macroalgae structure coastal ecosystems affecting metabolism, nutrient dynamics, and food webs. Spatially explicit prediction of macroalgal abundance is critical for understanding coastal ecosystems and trajectories. However, models of macroalgal distribution tend to be mechanistic and generalize poorly, or biogeographic and too coarse to use over spatial scales most appropriate to ecosystem research and management (1–100 km2). Our objective was to develop spatial distribution models for benthic macroalgae in soft‐sediment environments. We compared macroalgal abundance quantified as percent cover, with environmental drivers on 1 ha intertidal flats in a > 900 km2lagoon system along the Atlantic Coast of Virginia, U.S.A. Physical drivers of macroalgae (e.g., depth‐mediated light availability, exposure to waves) are related to bed morphology. We developed a novel topographic index (τ) to determine whether bed morphology predicts macroalgal abundance. This topographic index described variation in elevation occurring over spatial scales relevant to macroalgae, ranging from smooth to hummocky (τ= 0.01–1.07). Models testedτalong with mean elevation, fetch, and water residence time as predictors of macroalgal abundance.τ, and the interaction with water residence time, were most strongly related to macroalgal abundance. Hummocky flats accumulated less macroalgae than smoother flats, but exceptions occurred with short residence times. Model error (root mean square error) was low, varying between 8% and 18% across models. These models, based on readily measured physical features, are a useful approach for assessing macroalgal abundance in relation to shoreline hardening, species invasions, sea‐level rise, and changing sedimentation affecting coastal ecosystems.

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