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  1. Abstract

    CyanobacteriumMicrocoleus anatoxicus,isolated from a coastal stream in northern California, produces both anatoxin-a (ATX) and dihydroanatoxin-a (dhATX), responsible for dog deaths, but its environmental preferences are unknown. We tested the effect of environmentally relevant stressors, e.g., salinity enrichment and nitrogen (N) depletion, on mat formation and toxicity ofM. anatoxicusduring the stationary growth phase in culture.Microcoleus anatoxicusshowed broad salinity tolerance and the potential to enter estuaries and produce toxins in mesohaline conditions. Maximum growth was observed in oligohaline waters with salinity of 4.6 ppt. Moderate salinity stress (up to 7.8 ppt) did not affect dhATX production significantly. In contrast, higher salinity above 9.3 ppt had a detrimental effect on cell growth and significantly suppressed dhATX production. Formation of a common polysaccharide sheath covering multiple filaments was characteristic with increased salinity and may provide protection against osmotic stress.Microcoleus anatoxicusgrown for 40 days in N-depleted medium formed mats with significantly elevated dhATX and increased ATX concentrations. Phycobilisome degradation was a possible acclimation response to N-limitation, as indicated by distinctly keritomized and pale cells in these cultures. In both experiments, most of the anatoxins were extracellular, probably due to toxin leaking during the stationary growth phase.

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  5. Abstract

    The rediscovery of diatom blooms embedded within and beneath the Lake Erie ice cover (2007–2012) ignited interest in psychrophilic adaptations and winter limnology. Subsequent studies determined the vital role ice plays in winter diatom ecophysiology as diatoms partition to the underside of ice, thereby fixing their location within the photic zone. Yet, climate change has led to widespread ice decline across the Great Lakes, with Lake Erie presenting a nearly “ice-free” state in several recent winters. It has been hypothesized that the resultant turbid, isothermal water column induces light limitation amongst winter diatoms and thus serves as a competitive disadvantage. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a physiochemical and metatranscriptomic survey that spanned spatial, temporal, and climatic gradients of the winter Lake Erie water column (2019–2020). Our results suggest that ice-free conditions decreased planktonic diatom bloom magnitude and altered diatom community composition. Diatoms increased their expression of various photosynthetic genes and iron transporters, which suggests that the diatoms are attempting to increase their quantity of photosystems and light-harvesting components (a well-defined indicator of light limitation). We identified two gene families which serve to increase diatom fitness in the turbid ice-free water column: proton-pumping rhodopsins (a potential second means of light-driven energy acquisition) and fasciclins (a means to “raft” together to increase buoyancy and co-locate to the surface to optimize light acquisition). With large-scale climatic changes already underway, our observations provide insight into how diatoms respond to the dynamic ice conditions of today and shed light on how they will fare in a climatically altered tomorrow.

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  6. Casadevall, Arturo (Ed.)
    Much of the diversity of microbes from natural habitats, such as soil and freshwater, comprise species and lineages that have never been isolated into pure culture. In part, this stems from a bias of culturing in favor of saprotrophic microbes over the myriad symbiotic ones that include parasitic and mutualistic relationships with other taxa. In the present study, we aimed to shed light on the ecological function and morphology of the many undescribed lineages of aquatic fungi by individually isolating and sequencing molecular barcodes from 127 cells of host-associated fungi using single-cell sequencing. By adding these sequences and their photographs into the fungal tree, we were able to understand the morphology of reproductive and vegetative structures of these novel fungi and to provide a hypothesized ecological function for them. These individual host-fungal cells revealed themselves to be complex environments despite their small size; numerous samples were hyper-parasitized with other zoosporic fungal lineages such as Rozellomycota. 
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  7. China has made a concerted effort to successfully improve water quality of rivers, but lake water quality has not improved. Lakes require controls on both catchment external nutrient loads and in-lake internal loads, where nature-based solutions are coupled with engineered systems to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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