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  1. Variation in light and temperature can influence the genetic diversity and structure of marine plankton communities. While open-ocean plankton communities receive much scientific attention, little is known about how environmental variation affects plankton communities on tropical coral reefs. Here, we characterize eukaryotic plankton communities on coral reefs across the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama´. Temperature loggers were deployed, and midday light levels were measured to quantify environmental differences across reefs at four inshore and four offshore sites (Inshore = Punta Donato, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Point, Cristobal, Punta Laurel and Offshore = Drago Mar, Bastimentos North, Bastimentos South, and Cayo de Agua). Triplicate vertical plankton tows were collected midday, and high-throughput 18S ribosomal DNA metabarcoding was leveraged to investigate the relationship between eukaryotic plankton community structure and inshore/offshore reef environments. Plankton communities from STRI Point were additionally characterized in the morning (* 08:00), midday (* 12:00), and late-day (* 16:00) to quantify temporal variation within a single site. We found that inshore reefs experienced higher average seawater temperatures, while offshore sites offered higher light levels, presumably associated with reduced water turbidity on reefs further from shore. These significant environmental differences between inshore and offshore reefs corresponded with overall planktonmore »community differences. We also found that temporal variation played a structuring role within these plankton communities, and conclude that time of community sampling is an important consideration for future studies. Follow-up studies focusing on more intensive sampling efforts across space and time, coupled with techniques that can detect more subtle genetic differences between and within communities will more fully capture plankton dynamics in this region and beyond.« less
  2. With growing populations and pressing environmental problems, future economies will be increasingly plant-based. Now is the time to reimagine plant science as a critical component of fundamental science, agriculture, environmental stewardship, energy, technology and healthcare. This effort requires a conceptual and technological framework to identify and map all cell types, and to comprehensively annotate the localization and organization of molecules at cellular and tissue levels. This framework, called the Plant Cell Atlas (PCA), will be critical for understanding and engineering plant development, physiology and environmental responses. A workshop was convened to discuss the purpose and utility of such an initiative, resulting in a roadmap that acknowledges the current knowledge gaps and technical challenges, and underscores how the PCA initiative can help to overcome them.
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023