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  1. How individual organisms adapt to nonoptimal conditions through physiological acclimatization is central to predicting the consequences of unusual abiotic and biotic conditions such as those produced by marine heat waves. The Northeast Pacific, including the Gulf of Alaska, experienced an extreme warming event (2014–2016, “The Blob”) that affected all trophic levels and led to large-scale changes in the community. The marine copepod Neocalanus flemingeri is a key member of the subarctic Pacific pelagic ecosystem. During the spring phytoplankton bloom this copepod builds substantial lipid stores as it prepares for its nonfeeding adult phase. A 3-year comparison of gene expression profilesmore »of copepods collected in Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska between 2015 and 2017 included two high-temperature years (2015 and 2016) and one year with very low phytoplankton abundances (2016). The largest differences in gene expression were between high and low chlorophyll years, and not between warm and cool years. The observed gene expression patterns were indicative of physiological acclimatization. The predominant signal in 2016 was the down-regulation of genes involved in glycolysis and its incoming pathways, consistent with the modulation of metabolic rates in response to prolonged low food conditions. Despite the down-regulation of genes involved in metabolism, there was no evidence of suppression of protein synthesis based on gene expression or behavioural activity. Genes involved in muscle function were up-regulated, and the copepods were actively swimming and responsive to stimuli at collection. However, genes involved in fatty acid metabolism were down-regulated in 2016, suggesting reduced lipid accumulation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Incarbona, Alessandro (Ed.)
    Unusually warm conditions recently observed in the Pacific Arctic region included a dramatic loss of sea ice cover and an enhanced inflow of warmer Pacific-derived waters. Moored sediment traps deployed at three biological hotspots of the Distributed Biological Observatory (DBO) during this anomalously warm period collected sinking particles nearly continuously from June 2017 to July 2019 in the northern Bering Sea (DBO2) and in the southern Chukchi Sea (DBO3), and from August 2018 to July 2019 in the northern Chukchi Sea (DBO4). Fluxes of living algal cells, chlorophyll a (chl a ), total particulate matter (TPM), particulate organic carbon (POC),more »and zooplankton fecal pellets, along with zooplankton and meroplankton collected in the traps, were used to evaluate spatial and temporal variations in the development and composition of the phytoplankton and zooplankton communities in relation to sea ice cover and water temperature. The unprecedented sea ice loss of 2018 in the northern Bering Sea led to the export of a large bloom dominated by the exclusively pelagic diatoms Chaetoceros spp. at DBO2. Despite this intense bloom, early sea ice breakup resulted in shorter periods of enhanced chl a and diatom fluxes at all DBO sites, suggesting a weaker biological pump under reduced ice cover in the Pacific Arctic region, while the coincident increase or decrease in TPM and POC fluxes likely reflected variations in resuspension events. Meanwhile, the highest transport of warm Pacific waters during 2017–2018 led to a dominance of the small copepods Pseudocalanus at all sites. Whereas the export of ice-associated diatoms during 2019 suggested a return to more typical conditions in the northern Bering Sea, the impact on copepods persisted under the continuously enhanced transport of warm Pacific waters. Regardless, the biological pump remained strong on the shallow Pacific Arctic shelves.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 16, 2022
  3. Background: Diapause is a seasonal dormancy that allows organisms to survive unfavorable conditions and optimizes the timing of reproduction and growth. Emergence from diapause reverses the state of arrested development and metabolic suppression returning the organism to an active state. The physiological mechanisms that regulate the transition from diapause to post-diapause are still unknown. In this study, this transition has been characterized for the sub-arctic calanoid copepod Neocalanus flemingeri, a key crustacean zooplankter that supports the highly productive North Pacific fisheries. Transcriptional profiling of females, determined over a two-week time series starting with diapausing females collected from > 400m depth,more »characterized the molecular mechanisms that regulate the post-diapause trajectory. Results: A complex set of transitions in relative gene expression defined the transcriptomic changes from diapause to post-diapause. Despite low temperatures (5–6 °C), the switch from a “diapause” to a “post-diapause” transcriptional profile occurred within 12 h of the termination stimulus. Transcriptional changes signaling the end of diapause were activated within one-hour post collection and included the up-regulation of genes involved in the 20E cascade pathway, the TCA cycle and RNA metabolism in combination with the down-regulation of genes associated with chromatin silencing. By 12 h, females exhibited a post-diapause phenotype characterized by the up-regulation of genes involved in cell division, cell differentiation and multiple developmental processes. By seven days post collection, the reproductive program was fully activated as indicated by up-regulation of genes involved in oogenesis and energy metabolism, processes that were enriched among the differentially expressed genes. Conclusions: The analysis revealed a finely structured, precisely orchestrated sequence of transcriptional changes that led to rapid changes in the activation of biological processes paving the way to the successful completion of the reproductive program. Our findings lead to new hypotheses related to potentially universal mechanisms that terminate diapause before an organism can resume its developmental program.« less
  4. Abstract

    Characterization of species diversity of zooplankton is key to understanding, assessing, and predicting the function and future of pelagic ecosystems throughout the global ocean. The marine zooplankton assemblage, including only metazoans, is highly diverse and taxonomically complex, with an estimated ~28,000 species of 41 major taxonomic groups. This review provides a comprehensive summary of DNA sequences for the barcode region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) for identified specimens. The foundation of this summary is the MetaZooGene Barcode Atlas and Database (MZGdb), a new open-access data and metadata portal that is linked to NCBI GenBank and BOLD data repositories. Themore »MZGdb provides enhanced quality control and tools for assembling COI reference sequence databases that are specific to selected taxonomic groups and/or ocean regions, with associated metadata (e.g., collection georeferencing, verification of species identification, molecular protocols), and tools for statistical analysis, mapping, and visualization. To date, over 150,000 COI sequences for ~ 5600 described species of marine metazoan plankton (including holo- and meroplankton) are available via the MZGdb portal. This review uses the MZGdb as a resource for summaries of COI barcode data and metadata for important taxonomic groups of marine zooplankton and selected regions, including the North Atlantic, Arctic, North Pacific, and Southern Oceans. The MZGdb is designed to provide a foundation for analysis of species diversity of marine zooplankton based on DNA barcoding and metabarcoding for assessment of marine ecosystems and rapid detection of the impacts of climate change.

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  5. Continental slopes – steep regions between the shelf break and abyssal ocean – play key roles in the climatology and ecology of the Arctic Ocean. Here, through review and synthesis, we find that the narrow slope regions contribute to ecosystem functioning disproportionately to the size of the habitat area (∼6% of total Arctic Ocean area). Driven by inflows of sub-Arctic waters and steered by topography, boundary currents transport boreal properties and particle loads from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along-slope, thus creating both along and cross-slope connectivity gradients in water mass properties and biomass. Drainage of dense, saline shelf watermore »and material within these, and contributions of river and meltwater also shape the characteristics of the slope domain. These and other properties led us to distinguish upper and lower slope domains; the upper slope (shelf break to ∼800 m) is characterized by stronger currents, warmer sub-surface temperatures, and higher biomass across several trophic levels (especially near inflow areas). In contrast, the lower slope has slower-moving currents, is cooler, and exhibits lower vertical carbon flux and biomass. Distinct zonation of zooplankton, benthic and fish communities result from these differences. Slopes display varying levels of system connectivity: (1) along-slope through property and material transport in boundary currents, (2) cross-slope through upwelling of warm and nutrient rich water and down-welling of dense water and organic rich matter, and (3) vertically through shear and mixing. Slope dynamics also generate separating functions through (1) along-slope and across-slope fronts concentrating biological activity, and (2) vertical gradients in the water column and at the seafloor that maintain distinct physical structure and community turnover. At the upper slope, climatic change is manifested in sea-ice retreat, increased heat and mass transport by sub-Arctic inflows, surface warming, and altered vertical stratification, while the lower slope has yet to display evidence of change. Model projections suggest that ongoing physical changes will enhance primary production at the upper slope, with suspected enhancing effects for consumers. We recommend Pan-Arctic monitoring efforts of slopes given that many signals of climate change appear there first and are then transmitted along the slope domain.« less