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  1. Billions of years ago, the Earth’s waters were dominated by cyanobacteria. These microbes amassed to such formidable numbers, they ushered in a new era—starting with the Great Oxidation Event—fuelled by oxygenic photosynthesis. Throughout the following eon, cyanobacteria ceded portions of their global aerobic power to new photoautotrophs with the rise of eukaryotes (i.e. algae and higher plants), which co-existed with cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems. Yet while cyanobacteria’s ecological success story is one of the most notorious within our planet’s biogeochemical history, scientists to this day still seek to unlock the secrets of their triumph. Now, the Anthropocene has ushered in a new era fuelled by excessive nutrient inputs and greenhouse gas emissions, which are again reshaping the Earth’s biomes. In response, we are experiencing an increase in global cyanobacterial bloom distribution, duration, and frequency, leading to unbalanced, and in many instances degraded, ecosystems. A critical component of the cyanobacterial resurgence is the freshwater-marine continuum: which serves to transport blooms, and the toxins they produce, on the premise that “water flows downhill”. Here, we identify drivers contributing to the cyanobacterial comeback and discuss future implications in the context of environmental and human health along the aquatic continuum. This Minireview addresses themore »overlooked problem of the freshwater to marine continuum and the effects of nutrients and toxic cyanobacterial blooms moving along these waters. Marine and freshwater research have historically been conducted in isolation and independently of one another. Yet, this approach fails to account for the interchangeable transit of nutrients and biology through and between these freshwater and marine systems, a phenomenon that is becoming a major problem around the globe. This Minireview highlights what we know and the challenges that lie ahead.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2023
  3. Dennehy, John J. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Here, we report the genomic sequence of Aureococcus anophagefferens virus, assembled into one circular contig from both Nanopore and Illumina reads. The genome is 381,717 bp long with a GC content of 29.1%, which includes an additional 5-kb region between the previously predicted polar ends of the reference genome.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 21, 2023
  4. A mechanistic, molecular-level model of a toxin-producing cyanobacterium explains ecology and informs management.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 27, 2023
  5. Rokas, Antonis (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Previous reports suggest planktonic and under-ice winter microbial communities in Lake Erie are dominated by diatoms. Here, we report the assembled metatranscriptomes of 79 Lake Erie surface water microbial communities spanning both the winter (28 samples) and spring (51 samples) months over spatial, temporal, and climatic gradients in 2019 through 2020.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  6. Abstract

    The trace metal iron (Fe) controls the diversity and activity of phytoplankton across the surface oceans, a paradigm established through decades of in situ and mesocosm experimental studies. Despite widespread Fe-limitation within high-nutrient, low chlorophyll (HNLC) waters, significant contributions of the cyanobacteriumSynechococcusto the phytoplankton stock can be found. Correlations among differing strains ofSynechococcusacross different Fe-regimes have suggested the existence of Fe-adapted ecotypes. However, experimental evidence of high- versuslow-Fe adapted strains ofSynechococcusis lacking, and so we investigated the transcriptional responses of microbial communities inhabiting the HNLC, sub-Antarctic region of the Southern Ocean during the Spring of 2018. Analysis of metatranscriptomes generated from on-deck incubation experiments reflecting a gradient of Fe-availabilities reveal transcriptomic signatures indicative of co-occurringSynechococcusecotypes adapted to differing Fe-regimes. Functional analyses comparing low-Fe and high-Fe conditions point to various Fe-acquisition mechanisms that may allow persistence of low-Fe adaptedSynechococcusunder Fe-limitation. Comparison of in situ surface conditions to the Fe-titrations indicate ecological relevance of these mechanisms as well as persistence of both putative ecotypes within this region. This Fe-titration approach, combined with transcriptomics, highlights the short-term responses of the in situ phytoplankton community to Fe-availability that are often overlooked by examining genomic content or bulk physiological responses alone. These findings expandmore »our knowledge about how phytoplankton in HNLC Southern Ocean waters adapt and respond to changing Fe supply.

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  7. Cock, M. (Ed.)
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  9. The environmental conditions experienced by microbial communities are rarely fully simulated in the laboratory. Researchers use experimental containers (“bottles”), where natural samples can be manipulated and evaluated. However, container-based methods are subject to “bottle effects”: changes that occur when enclosing the plankton community that are often times unexplained by standard measures like pigment and nutrient concentrations. We noted variability in a short-term, nutrient amendment experiment during a 2019 Lake Erie, Microcystis spp. bloom. We observed changes in heterotrophic bacteria activity (transcription) on a time-frame consistent with a response to experimental changes in nutrient availability, demonstrating how the often overlooked microbiome of cyanobacterial blooms can be altered. Samples processed at the time of collection (T0) contained abundant transcripts from Bacteroidetes, which reduced in abundance during incubation in all bottles, including controls. Significant biological variability in the expression of Microcystis -infecting phage was observed between replicates, with phosphate-amended treatments showing a 10-fold variation. The expression patterns of Microcystis -infecting phage were significantly correlated with ∼35% of Microcystis -specific functional genes and ∼45% of the cellular-metabolites measured across the entire microbial community, suggesting phage activity not only influenced Microcystis dynamics, but the biochemistry of the microbiome. Our observations demonstrate how natural heterogeneity amongmore »replicates can be harnessed to provide further insight on virus and host ecology.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 16, 2023