skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, July 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, July 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1538525

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Diatoms have well‐recognized roles in fixing and exporting carbon and supplying energy to marine ecosystems, but only recently have we begun to explore the diversity and importance of nano‐ and pico‐diatoms. Here, we describe a small (ca. 5 μm) diatom from the genusChaetocerosisolated from a wintertime temperate estuary (2°C, Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island), with a unique obligate specialization for low‐light environments (< 120 μmol photons m−2 s−1). This diatom exhibits a striking interaction between irradiance and thermal responses whereby as temperatures increase, so does its susceptibility to light stress. Historical 18S rRNA amplicon data from our study site show this isolate was abundant throughout a 6‐yr period, and its presence strongly correlates with winter and early spring months when light and temperature are low. Two amplicon sequence variants matching this isolate had a circumpolar distribution in Tara Polar Ocean Circle samples, indicating its unusual light and temperature requirements are adaptations to life in a cold, dark environment. We expect this isolate's low light, psychrophilic niche to shrink as future warming‐induced stratification increases both light and temperature levels experienced by high latitude marine phytoplankton.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Average sea surface temperatures are expected to rise 4° this century, and marine phytoplankton and bacterial community composition, biogeochemical rates, and trophic interactions are all expected to change in a future warmer ocean. Thermal experiments typically use constant temperatures; however, weather and hydrography cause marine temperatures to fluctuate on diel cycles and over multiple days. We incubated natural communities of phytoplankton collected from California coastal waters during spring, summer, and fall under present-day and future mean temperatures, using thermal treatments that were either constant or fluctuated on a 48 h cycle. As assayed by marker-gene sequencing, the emergent microbial communities were consistent within each season, except when culture temperatures exceeded the highest temperature recorded in a 10-year local thermal dataset. When temperature treatments exceeded the 10-year maximum the phytoplankton community shifted, becoming dominated by diatom amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) not seen at lower temperatures. When mean temperatures were above the 10-year maximum, constant and fluctuating regimes each selected for different ASVs. These findings suggest coastal microbial communities are largely adapted to the current range of temperatures they experience. They also suggest a general hypothesis whereby multiyear upper temperature limits may represent thresholds, beyond which large community restructurings may occur. Now inevitable future temperature increases that exceed these environmental thresholds, even temporarily, may fundamentally reshape marine microbial communities and therefore the biogeochemical cycles that they mediate.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Increased stratification and mixed layer shoaling of the surface ocean resulting from warming can lead to exposure of marine dinitrogen (N2)‐fixing cyanobacteria to higher levels of inhibitory ultraviolet (UV) radiation. These same processes also reduce vertically advected supplies of the potentially limiting nutrient phosphorus (P) to N2fixers. It is currently unknown how UV inhibition and P limitation interact to affect the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen and carbon in these biogeochemically critical microbes. We investigated the responses of the important and widespread marine N2‐fixing cyanobacteriaCrocosphaera(strain WH0005) andTrichodesmium(strains IMS 101 and GBR) to UV‐A and UV‐B under P‐replete and P‐limited conditions. Growth, N2fixation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) fixation rates ofTrichodesmiumIMS 101 andCrocosphaerawere negatively affected by UV exposure. This inhibition was greater forTrichodesmiumIMS 101 than forCrocosphaera, which fixes N2only during the night and so avoids direct UV damage. Negative effects of UV on both IMS 101 andCrocosphaerawere less in P‐limited cultures than in P‐replete cultures. In contrast, no UV inhibition was observed in GBR, regardless of P availability. UV inhibition was related to different amounts of UV‐absorbing compounds produced by these isolates. Responses to UV radiation and P availability interactions were taxon‐specific, but our results indicated that in general, UV radiation effects onTrichodesmiumandCrocosphaerarange from negative to neutral. UV inhibition and its interactions with P limitation may thus have a substantial influence on the present day and future nitrogen and carbon cycles of the ocean.

    more » « less
  4. Marine microbes form the base of ocean food webs and drive ocean biogeochemical cycling. Yet little is known about the ability of microbial populations to adapt as they are advected through changing conditions. Here, we investigated the interplay between physical and biological timescales using a model of adaptation and an eddy-resolving ocean circulation climate model. Two criteria were identified that relate the timing and nature of adaptation to the ratio of physical to biological timescales. Genetic adaptation was impeded in highly variable regimes by nongenetic modifications but was promoted in more stable environments. An evolutionary trade-off emerged where greater short-term nongenetic transgenerational effects (low-γ strategy) enabled rapid responses to environmental fluctuations but delayed genetic adaptation, while fewer short-term transgenerational effects (high-γ strategy) allowed faster genetic adaptation but inhibited short-term responses. Our results demonstrate that the selective pressures for organisms within a single water mass vary based on differences in generation timescales resulting in different evolutionary strategies being favored. Organisms that experience more variable environments should favor a low-γ strategy. Furthermore, faster cell division rates should be a key factor in genetic adaptation in a changing ocean. Understanding and quantifying the relationship between evolutionary and physical timescales is critical for robust predictions of future microbial dynamics. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract. Marine phytoplankton such as bloom-forming, calcite-producingcoccolithophores, are naturally exposed to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR,280–400nm) in the ocean's upper mixed layers. Nevertheless, the effects ofincreasing carbon dioxide (CO2)-induced ocean acidification and warming have rarelybeen investigated in the presence of UVR. We examined calcification andphotosynthetic carbon fixation performance in the most cosmopolitancoccolithophorid, Emiliania huxleyi, grown under high(1000µatm, HC; pHT: 7.70) and low (400µatm,LC; pHT: 8.02) CO2 levels, at 15C,20C and 24C with or without UVR. The HCtreatment did not affect photosynthetic carbon fixation at 15C,but significantly enhanced it with increasing temperature. Exposure to UVRinhibited photosynthesis, with higher inhibition by UVA (320–395nm) thanUVB (295–320nm), except in the HC and 24C-grown cells, in whichUVB caused more inhibition than UVA. A reduced thickness of the coccolith layerin the HC-grown cells appeared to be responsible for the UV-inducedinhibition, and an increased repair rate of UVA-derived damage in theHC–high-temperature grown cells could be responsible for lowered UVA-induced inhibition.While calcification was reduced with elevated CO2 concentration,exposure to UVB or UVA affected the process differentially, with the formerinhibiting it and the latter enhancing it. UVA-induced stimulation of calcification washigher in the HC-grown cells at 15 and 20C, whereas at24C observed enhancement was not significant. The calcificationto photosynthesis ratio (CalPho ratio) was lower in the HC treatment,and increasing temperature also lowered the value. However, at 20 and24C, exposure to UVR significantly increased the CalPhoratio, especially in HC-grown cells, by up to 100%. This implies thatUVR can counteract the negative effects of the “greenhouse” treatment onthe CalPho ratio; hence, UVR may be a key stressor when considering theimpacts of future greenhouse conditions on E. huxleyi.

    more » « less