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  1. Certain benthic foraminifera thrive in marine sediments with low or undetectable oxygen. Potential survival avenues used by these supposedly aerobic protists include fermentation and anaerobic respiration, although details on their adaptive mechanisms remain elusive. To better understand the metabolic versatility of foraminifera, we studied two benthic species that thrive in oxygen-depleted marine sediments. Here we detail, via transcriptomics and metatranscriptomics, differential gene expression of Nonionella stella and Bolivina argentea , collected from Santa Barbara Basin, California, USA, in response to varied oxygenation and chemical amendments. Organelle-specific metabolic reconstructions revealed these two species utilize adaptable mitochondrial and peroxisomal metabolism. N. stella , most abundant in anoxia and characterized by lack of food vacuoles and abundance of intracellular lipid droplets, was predicted to couple the putative peroxisomal beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle with a versatile electron transport system and a partial TCA cycle. In contrast, B. argentea , most abundant in hypoxia and contains food vacuoles, was predicted to utilize the putative peroxisomal gluconeogenesis and a full TCA cycle but lacks the expression of key beta-oxidation and glyoxylate cycle genes. These metabolic adaptations likely confer ecological success while encountering deoxygenation and expand our understanding of metabolic modifications and interactions between mitochondria and peroxisomesmore »in protists.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 2, 2023
  2. Seafloor hydrothermalism plays a critical role in fundamental interactions between geochemical and biological processes in the deep ocean. A significant number of hydrothermal vents are hypothesized to exist, but many of these remain undiscovered due in part to the difficulty of detecting hydrothermalism using standard sensors on rosettes towed in the water column or robotic platforms performing surveys. Here, we use in situ methane sensors to complement standard sensing technology for hydrothermalism discovery and compare sensors on a towed rosette and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) during a 17 km long transect in the Northern Guaymas Basin in the Gulf of California. This transect spatially intersected with a known hydrothermally active venting site. These data show that methane signalled possible hydrothermal-activity 1.5–3 km laterally (100–150 m vertically) from a known vent. Methane as a signal for hydrothermalism performed similarly to standard turbidity sensors (plume detection 2.2–3.3 km from reference source), and more sensitively and clearly than temperature, salinity, and oxygen instruments which readily respond to physical mixing in background seawater. We additionally introduce change-point detection algorithms—streaming cross-correlation and regime identification—as a means of real-time hydrothermalism discovery and discuss related data supervision technologies that could be used in planning, executing, and monitoring explorative surveys formore »hydrothermalism.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 25, 2023
  3. The balance between sources and sinks of molecular oxygen in the oceans has greatly impacted the composition of Earth’s atmosphere since the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, thereby exerting key influence on Earth’s climate and the redox state of (sub)surface Earth. The canonical source and sink terms of the marine oxygen budget include photosynthesis, respiration, photorespiration, the Mehler reaction, and other smaller terms. However, recent advances in understanding cryptic oxygen cycling, namely the ubiquitous one-electron reduction of O 2 to superoxide by microorganisms outside the cell, remains unexplored as a potential player in global oxygen dynamics. Here we show that dark extracellular superoxide production by marine microbes represents a previously unconsidered global oxygen flux and sink comparable in magnitude to other key terms. We estimate that extracellular superoxide production represents a gross oxygen sink comprising about a third of marine gross oxygen production, and a net oxygen sink amounting to 15 to 50% of that. We further demonstrate that this total marine dark extracellular superoxide flux is consistent with concentrations of superoxide in marine environments. These findings underscore prolific marine sources of reactive oxygen species and a complex and dynamic oxygen cycle in which oxygen consumption and corresponding carbon oxidation aremore »not necessarily confined to cell membranes or exclusively related to respiration. This revised model of the marine oxygen cycle will ultimately allow for greater reconciliation among estimates of primary production and respiration and a greater mechanistic understanding of redox cycling in the ocean.« less