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  1. Abstract

    The essential nutrient phosphorus is biologically scarce in the Sargasso Sea, yet the pelagic macroalgaeSargassum, for which this area of the North Atlantic Ocean is named, thrives. We tested the hypothesis thatSargassumholobionts utilize methylphosphonate (MPn) as an alternative source of phosphorus, finding lysis liberated phosphonate‐derived methane. The observed activity occurred at concentrations as low as 35 nM MPn and was inhibited by antibiotics, implicating bacterial epibionts of the holobiont capable of MPn lysis at realistic environmental concentrations. Dark incubations resulted in diminished methane production, consistent with commensalism between microbe and host. A survey of macroalgal species inhabiting the Sargasso Sea found ubiquitous capacity for MPn lysis; such capacity was absent in species inhabiting phosphorus‐replete waters of the California Current, pointing to phosphorous limitation as a selective pressure. These results suggest that bacterial epibionts of algal communities acquire phosphorus from phosphonates while simultaneously serving as a source of atmospheric methane.

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  2. Book Chapter in © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019 T. J. McGenity (ed.), Microbial Communities Utilizing Hydrocarbons and Lipids: Members, Metagenomics and Ecophysiology, Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology, 
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  3. The Nebraska Innovation Maker Co-Laboratory (NiMC) project is developing a model to establish and support makerspaces in rural communities. As makerspaces gain in popularity a chasm has developing between urban access and lack thereof for rural populations. The MiMC model supports collaboration between university faculty and staff and rural makerspaces by utilizing virtual reality and telepresence robots. The exploratory research project deployed telepresence robotics to teach, co-teach and provide project support to a rural community (pop. 7,000) makerspace. Virtual reality was used to teach creativity concepts, VR digital creation and digital to physical manifestation of projects. The NiMC project will continue to explore the model of connection and support of rural makerspaces. 
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  4. Abstract

    During aerobic oxidation of methane (CH4) in seawater, a process which mitigates atmospheric emissions, the12C‐isotopologue reacts with a slightly greater rate constant than the13C‐isotopologue, leaving the residual CH4isotopically fractionated. Prior studies have attempted to exploit this systematic isotopic fractionation from methane oxidation to quantify the extent that a CH4pool has been oxidized in seawater. However, cultivation‐based studies have suggested that isotopic fractionation fundamentally changes as a microbial population blooms in response to an influx of reactive substrates. Using a systematic mesocosm incubation study with recently collected seawater, here we investigate the fundamental isotopic kinetics of aerobic CH4oxidation during a microbial bloom. As detailed in a companion paper, seawater samples were collected from seep fields in Hudson Canyon, U.S. Atlantic Margin, and atop Woolsey Mound (also known as Sleeping Dragon) which is part of lease block MC118 in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and used in these investigations. The results from both Hudson Canyon and MC118 show that in these natural environments isotopic fraction for CH4oxidation follows a first‐order kinetic process. The results also show that the isotopic fractionation factor remains constant during this methanotrophic bloom once rapid CH4oxidation begins and that the magnitude of the fractionation factor appears correlated with the first‐order reaction rate constant. These findings greatly simplify the use of natural stable isotope changes in CH4to assess the extent that CH4is oxidized in seawater following seafloor release.

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  5. Abstract

    Microbial aerobic oxidation is known to be a significant sink of marine methane (CH4), contributing to the relatively minor atmospheric release of this greenhouse gas over vast stretches of the ocean. However, the chemical kinetics of aerobic CH4oxidation are not well established, making it difficult to predict and assess the extent that CH4is oxidized in seawater following seafloor release. Here we investigate the kinetics of aerobic CH4oxidation using mesocosm incubations of fresh seawater samples collected from seep fields in Hudson Canyon, U.S. Atlantic Margin and MC118, Gulf of Mexico to gain a fundamental chemical understanding of this CH4sink. The goals of this investigation were to determine the response or lag time following CH4release until more rapid oxidation begins, the reaction order, and the stoichiometry of reactants utilized (i.e., CH4, oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, trace metals) during CH4oxidation. The results for both Hudson Canyon and MC118 environments show that CH4oxidation rates sharply increased within less than one month following the CH4inoculation of seawater. However, the exact temporal characteristics of this more rapid CH4oxidation varied based on location, possibly dependent on the local circulation and biogeochemical conditions at the point of seawater collection. The data further suggest that methane oxidation behaves as a first‐order kinetic process and that the reaction rate constant remains constant once rapid CH4oxidation begins.

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