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  1. Mackelprang, Rachel (Ed.)
    Petroleum pollution in the ocean has increased because of rapid population growth and modernization, requiring urgent remediation. Our understanding of the metabolic response of native microbial communities to oil spills is not well understood. Here, we explored the baseline hydrocarbon-degrading communities of a subarctic Atlantic region to uncover the metabolic potential of the bacteria that inhabit the surface and subsurface water. We conducted enrichments with a 13 C-labeled hydrocarbon to capture the fraction of the community actively using the hydrocarbon. We then combined this approach with metagenomics to identify the metabolic potential of this hydrocarbon-degrading community. This revealed previously undescribed uncultured bacteria with unique metabolic mechanisms involved in aerobic hydrocarbon degradation, indicating that temperature may be pivotal in structuring hydrocarbon-degrading baseline communities. Our findings highlight gaps in our understanding of the metabolic complexity of hydrocarbon degradation by native marine microbial communities. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 13, 2024
  2. Invasive species impart abrupt changes on ecosystems, but their impacts on microbial communities are often overlooked. We paired a 20 y freshwater microbial community time series with zooplankton and phytoplankton counts, rich environmental data, and a 6 y cyanotoxin time series. We observed strong microbial phenological patterns that were disrupted by the invasions of spiny water flea ( Bythotrephes cederströmii ) and zebra mussels ( Dreissena polymorpha ). First, we detected shifts in Cyanobacteria phenology. After the spiny water flea invasion, Cyanobacteria dominance crept earlier into clearwater; and after the zebra mussel invasion, Cyanobacteria abundance crept even earlier into the diatom-dominated spring. During summer, the spiny water flea invasion sparked a cascade of shifting diversity where zooplankton diversity decreased and Cyanobacteria diversity increased. Second, we detected shifts in cyanotoxin phenology. After the zebra mussel invasion, microcystin increased in early summer and the duration of toxin production increased by over a month. Third, we observed shifts in heterotrophic bacteria phenology. The Bacteroidota phylum and members of the acI Nanopelagicales lineage were differentially more abundant. The proportion of the bacterial community that changed differed by season; spring and clearwater communities changed most following the spiny water flea invasion that lessened clearwater intensity, while summer communities changed least following the zebra mussel invasion despite the shifts in Cyanobacteria diversity and toxicity. A modeling framework identified the invasions as primary drivers of the observed phenological changes. These long-term invasion-mediated shifts in microbial phenology demonstrate the interconnectedness of microbes with the broader food web and their susceptibility to long-term environmental change. 
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  3. This repository includes the setup and output from the analysis ran on Lake Mendota to explore the trophic cascade caused by invasion of spiny water flea in 2010. Scripts to run the model are located under /src, and the processed results for the discussion of the paper are located under /data_processed.

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  4. Abstract

    Species invasions can disrupt aquatic ecosystems by re‐wiring food webs. A trophic cascade triggered by the invasion of the predatory zooplankter spiny water flea (Bythotrephes cederströmii) resulted in increased phytoplankton due to decreased zooplankton grazing. Here, we show that increased phytoplankton biomass led to an increase in lake anoxia. The temporal and spatial extent of anoxia experienced a step change increase coincident with the invasion, and anoxic factor increased by 11 d. Post‐invasion, anoxia established more quickly following spring stratification, driven by an increase in phytoplankton biomass. A shift in spring phytoplankton phenology encompassed both abundance and community composition. Diatoms (Bacillaryophyta) drove the increase in spring phytoplankton biomass, but not all phytoplankton community members increased, shifting the community composition. We infer that increased phytoplankton biomass increased labile organic matter and drove hypolimnetic oxygen consumption. These results demonstrate how a species invasion can shift lake phenology and biogeochemistry.

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  5. The Lake Mendota Microbial Observatory collects routine water physical and chemical measurements alongside their microbial samples. This dataset includes measurements of water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity collected at the central Deep Hole, collocated with a weather buoy (43°05'58.2"N 89°24'16.2"W). All measurements were collected with handheld probes. Data from 2006-2014 was compiled from multiple sources and includes only water temperature and dissolved oxygen. Data from 2014-2019 is from the same probe, a YSI Pro Plus instrument, and also includes pH and specific conductance. Routine microbial observatory sampling continues into the present. 
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  6. The Lake Mendota Microbial Observatory collects routine water clarity measurements alongside their microbial samples. This dataset includes measurements of water clarity collected at the central Deep Hole, collocated with a weather buoy (43°05'58.2"N 89°24'16.2"W). All measurements were collected with handheld Secchi discs. When multiple personnel performed the Secchi disc measurements, the average and standard deviation are reported. To take the Secchi depth, sunglasses are removed and the disc is lowered on the shaded side of the boat. The Secchi depth is the average between where the Secchi disc disappears while lowering it and where it reappears while raising it. Routine microbial observatory sampling continues into the present. 
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