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  1. Glass, Jennifer B. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Standard methods for calculating microbial growth rates (μ) through the use of proxies, such as in situ fluorescence, cell cycle, or cell counts, are critical for determining the magnitude of the role bacteria play in marine carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles. Taxon-specific growth rates in mixed assemblages would be useful for attributing biogeochemical processes to individual species and understanding niche differentiation among related clades, such as found in Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus . We tested three novel DNA sequencing-based methods (iRep, bPTR, and GRiD) for evaluating the growth of light-synchronized Synechococcus cultures under different light intensities and temperatures. In vivo fluorescence and cell cycle analysis were used to obtain standard estimates of growth rate for comparison with those of the sequence-based methods (SBM). None of the SBM values were correlated with growth rates calculated by standard techniques despite the fact that all three SBM were correlated with the percentage of cells in S phase (DNA replication) over the diel cycle. Inaccuracy in determining the time of maximum DNA replication is unlikely to account entirely for the absence of a relationship between SBM and growth rate, but the fact that most microbes in the surface ocean exhibit some degree ofmore »diel cyclicity is a caution for application of these methods. SBM correlate with DNA replication but cannot be interpreted quantitatively in terms of growth rate. IMPORTANCE Small but abundant, cyanobacterial strains such as the photosynthetic Synechococcus spp. are important because they contribute significantly to primary productivity in the ocean. These bacteria generate oxygen and provide biologically available carbon, which is essential for organisms at higher trophic levels. The small size and diversity of natural microbial assemblages mean that taxon-specific activities (e.g., growth rate) are difficult to obtain in the field. It has been suggested that sequence-based methods (SBM) may be able to solve this problem. We find, however, that SBM can detect DNA replication and are correlated with phases of the cell cycle but cannot be interpreted in terms of absolute growth rate for Synechococcus cultures growing under a day-night cycle, like that experienced in the ocean.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 11, 2023
  2. Abstract Oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are unique marine regions where broad redox gradients stimulate biogeochemical cycles. Despite the important and unique role of OMZ microbes in these cycles, they are less characterized than microbes from the oxic ocean. Here we recovered 39 high- and medium-quality metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from the Eastern Tropical South Pacific OMZ. More than half of these MAGs were not represented at the species level among 2631 MAGs from global marine datasets. OMZ MAGs were dominated by denitrifiers catalyzing nitrogen loss and especially MAGs with partial denitrification metabolism. A novel bacterial genome with nitrate-reducing potential could only be assigned to the phylum level. A Marine-Group II archaeon was found to be a versatile denitrifier, with the potential capability to respire multiple nitrogen compounds including N 2 O. The newly discovered denitrifying MAGs will improve our understanding of microbial adaptation strategies and the evolution of denitrification in the tree of life.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is important to the global radiative budget of the atmosphere and contributes to the depletion of stratospheric ozone. Globally the ocean represents a large net flux of N 2 O to the atmosphere but the direction of this flux varies regionally. Our understanding of N 2 O production and consumption processes in the ocean remains incomplete. Traditional understanding tells us that anaerobic denitrification, the reduction of NO 3 − to N 2 with N 2 O as an intermediate step, is the sole biological means of reducing N 2 O, a process known to occur in anoxic environments only. Here we present experimental evidence of N 2 O removal under fully oxygenated conditions, coupled with observations of bacterial communities with novel, atypical gene sequences for N 2 O reduction. The focus of this work was on the high latitude Atlantic Ocean where we show bacterial consumption sufficient to account for oceanic N 2 O depletion and the occurrence of regional sinks for atmospheric N 2 O.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  4. Abstract The ocean is a net source of N 2 O, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting agent. However, the removal of N 2 O via microbial N 2 O consumption is poorly constrained and rate measurements have been restricted to anoxic waters. Here we expand N 2 O consumption measurements from anoxic zones to the sharp oxygen gradient above them, and experimentally determine kinetic parameters in both oxic and anoxic seawater for the first time. We find that the substrate affinity, O 2 tolerance, and community composition of N 2 O-consuming microbes in oxic waters differ from those in the underlying anoxic layers. Kinetic parameters determined here are used to model in situ N 2 O production and consumption rates. Estimated in situ rates differ from measured rates, confirming the necessity to consider kinetics when predicting N 2 O cycling. Microbes from the oxic layer consume N 2 O under anoxic conditions at a much faster rate than microbes from anoxic zones. These experimental results are in keeping with model results which indicate that N 2 O consumption likely takes place above the oxygen deficient zone (ODZ). Thus, the dynamic layer with steep O 2 and N 2 Omore »gradients right above the ODZ is a previously ignored potential gatekeeper of N 2 O and should be accounted for in the marine N 2 O budget.« less
  5. Nitrous oxide (N 2 O) is a potent greenhouse gas and an ozone destroying substance. Yet, clear step-by-step protocols to measure N 2 O transformation rates in freshwater and marine environments are still lacking, challenging inter-comparability efforts. Here we present detailed protocols currently used by leading experts in the field to measure water-column N 2 O production and consumption rates in both marine and other aquatic environments. We present example 15 N-tracer incubation experiments in marine environments as well as templates to calculate both N 2 O production and consumption rates. We discuss important considerations and recommendations regarding (1) precautions to prevent oxygen (O 2 ) contamination during low-oxygen and anoxic incubations, (2) preferred bottles and stoppers, (3) procedures for 15 N-tracer addition, and (4) the choice of a fixative. We finally discuss data reporting and archiving. We expect these protocols will make 15 N-labeled N 2 O transformation rate measurements more accessible to the wider community and facilitate future inter-comparison between different laboratories.
  6. Abstract

    Nitrite is a pivotal component of the marine nitrogen cycle. The fate of nitrite determines the loss or retention of fixed nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all organisms. Loss occurs via anaerobic nitrite reduction to gases during denitrification and anammox, while retention occurs via nitrite oxidation to nitrate. Nitrite oxidation is usually represented in biogeochemical models by one kinetic parameter and one oxygen threshold, below which nitrite oxidation is set to zero. Here we find that the responses of nitrite oxidation to nitrite and oxygen concentrations vary along a redox gradient in a Pacific Ocean oxygen minimum zone, indicating niche differentiation of nitrite-oxidizing assemblages. Notably, we observe the full inhibition of nitrite oxidation by oxygen addition and nitrite oxidation coupled with nitrogen loss in the absence of oxygen consumption in samples collected from anoxic waters. Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria, including novel clades with high relative abundance in anoxic depths, were also detected in the same samples. Mechanisms corresponding to niche differentiation of nitrite-oxidizing bacteria across the redox gradient are considered. Implementing these mechanisms in biogeochemical models has a significant effect on the estimated fixed nitrogen budget.