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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
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  3. Stajich, Jason E. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present 49 metagenome assemblies of the microbiome associated with Sphagnum (peat moss) collected from ambient, artificially warmed, and geothermally warmed conditions across Europe. These data will enable further research regarding the impact of climate change on plant-microbe symbiosis, ecology, and ecosystem functioning of northern peatland ecosystems.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    Bryophytes generally have broad geographical ranges that suggest high dispersal ability. The aim of this study was to test hypotheses about dispersal limitation, as indicated by isolation by distance, in four spore-producing species of the moss genus Sphagnum (Sphagnum carolinianum, Sphagnum missouricum, Sphagnum macrophyllum and Sphagnum pylaesii) and to assess whether plants in the southern USA harbour high levels of unique alleles and/or other indicators of exceptional genetic diversity. Isolation by distance was detected in all four species, but regional patterns of genetic structure were very species specific. Northern and southern genotype groups were detected in S. carolinianum and S. missouricum, but in S. pylaesii plants from the Adirondack Mountains of New York were genetically distinct from others to the north and south. One species, S. macrophyllum, exhibited differentiation between northern and southern genetic groups that appeared to reflect more ancient phylogenetic diversification.

  5. Martiny, Jennifer B. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Peat mosses of the genus Sphagnum are ecosystem engineers that frequently predominate over photosynthetic production in boreal peatlands. Sphagnum spp. host diverse microbial communities capable of nitrogen fixation (diazotrophy) and methane oxidation (methanotrophy), thereby potentially supporting plant growth under severely nutrient-limited conditions. Moreover, diazotrophic methanotrophs represent a possible “missing link” between the carbon and nitrogen cycles, but the functional contributions of the Sphagnum -associated microbiome remain in question. A combination of metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and dual-isotope incorporation assays was applied to investigate Sphagnum microbiome community composition across the North American continent and provide empirical evidence for diazotrophic methanotrophy in Sphagnum -dominated ecosystems. Remarkably consistent prokaryotic communities were detected in over 250 Sphagnum SSU rRNA libraries from peatlands across the United States (5 states, 17 bog/fen sites, 18 Sphagnum species), with 12 genera of the core microbiome comprising 60% of the relative microbial abundance. Additionally, nitrogenase ( nifH ) and SSU rRNA gene amplicon analysis revealed that nitrogen-fixing populations made up nearly 15% of the prokaryotic communities, predominated by Nostocales cyanobacteria and Rhizobiales methanotrophs. While cyanobacteria comprised the vast majority (>95%) of diazotrophs detected in amplicon and metagenome analyses, obligate methanotrophs of the genus Methyloferula (order Rhizobiales ) accounted for one-quartermore »of transcribed nifH genes. Furthermore, in dual-isotope tracer experiments, members of the Rhizobiales showed substantial incorporation of 13 CH 4 and 15 N 2 isotopes into their rRNA. Our study characterizes the core Sphagnum microbiome across large spatial scales and indicates that diazotrophic methanotrophs, here defined as obligate methanotrophs of the rare biosphere ( Methyloferula spp. of the Rhizobiales ) that also carry out diazotrophy, play a keystone role in coupling of the carbon and nitrogen cycles in nutrient-poor peatlands. IMPORTANCE Nitrogen availability frequently limits photosynthetic production in Sphagnum moss-dominated high-latitude peatlands, which are crucial carbon-sequestering ecosystems at risk to climate change effects. It has been previously suggested that microbial methane-fueled fixation of atmospheric nitrogen (N 2 ) may occur in these ecosystems, but this process and the organisms involved are largely uncharacterized. A combination of omics (DNA and RNA characterization) and dual-isotope incorporation approaches illuminated the functional diversity of Sphagnum -associated microbiomes and defined 12 bacterial genera in its core microbiome at the continental scale. Moreover, obligate diazotrophic methanotrophs showed high nitrogen fixation gene expression levels and incorporated a substantial amount of atmospheric nitrogen and methane-driven carbon into their biomass. Thus, these results point to a central role for members of the rare biosphere in Sphagnum microbiomes as keystone species that couple nitrogen fixation to methane oxidation in nutrient-poor peatlands.« less
  6. Abstract

    Interactions betweenSphagnum(peat moss) and cyanobacteria play critical roles in terrestrial carbon and nitrogen cycling processes. Knowledge of the metabolites exchanged, the physiological processes involved, and the environmental conditions allowing the formation of symbiosis is important for a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these interactions. In this study, we used a cross-feeding approach with spatially resolved metabolite profiling and metatranscriptomics to characterize the symbiosis betweenSphagnumandNostoccyanobacteria. A pH gradient study revealed that theSphagnum–Nostocsymbiosis was driven by pH, with mutualism occurring only at low pH. Metabolic cross-feeding studies along with spatially resolved matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) identified trehalose as the main carbohydrate source released bySphagnum, which were depleted byNostocalong with sulfur-containing choline-O-sulfate, taurine and sulfoacetate. In exchange,Nostocincreased exudation of purines and amino acids. Metatranscriptome analysis indicated thatSphagnumhost defense was downregulated when in direct contact with theNostocsymbiont, but not as a result of chemical contact alone. The observations in this study elucidated environmental, metabolic, and physiological underpinnings of the widespread plant–cyanobacterial symbioses with important implications for predicting carbon and nitrogen cycling in peatland ecosystems as well as the basis of general host-microbe interactions.