Recent Submissions

  • Large-scale ocean connectivity and planktonic body size

    Villarino, Ernesto; Watson, James R.; Jönsson, Bror; Gasol, Josep M.; Salazar, Guillem; Acinas, Silvia G.; Estrada, Marta; Massana, Ramón; Logares, Ramiro; Giner, Caterina R.; Pernice, Massimo C.; Olivar, M. Pilar; Citores, Leire; Corell, Jon; Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, Naiara; Acuña, José Luis; Molina-Ramírez, Axayacatl; González-Gordillo, J. Ignacio; Cózar, Andrés; Martí, Elisa; Cuesta, José A.; Agusti, Susana; Fraile-Nuez, Eugenio; Duarte, Carlos M.; Irigoien, Xabier; Chust, Guillem (Nature Communications, Springer Nature, 2018-01-10) [Article]
    Global patterns of planktonic diversity are mainly determined by the dispersal of propagules with ocean currents. However, the role that abundance and body size play in determining spatial patterns of diversity remains unclear. Here we analyse spatial community structure - β-diversity - for several planktonic and nektonic organisms from prokaryotes to small mesopelagic fishes collected during the Malaspina 2010 Expedition. β-diversity was compared to surface ocean transit times derived from a global circulation model, revealing a significant negative relationship that is stronger than environmental differences. Estimated dispersal scales for different groups show a negative correlation with body size, where less abundant large-bodied communities have significantly shorter dispersal scales and larger species spatial turnover rates than more abundant small-bodied plankton. Our results confirm that the dispersal scale of planktonic and micro-nektonic organisms is determined by local abundance, which scales with body size, ultimately setting global spatial patterns of diversity.
  • Ruegeria profundi sp. nov. and Ruegeria marisrubri sp. nov., isolated from the brine–seawater interface at Erba Deep in the Red Sea

    Zhang, Guishan; Haroon, Mohamed; Zhang, Ruifu; Dong, Xiaoyan; Wang, Dandan; Liu, Yunpeng; Xun, Weibing; Dong, Xiuzhu; Stingl, Ulrich (International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Microbiology Society, 2017-10-12) [Article]
    Two moderately halophilic marine bacterial strains of the family Rhodobacteraceae, designated ZGT108T and ZGT118T, were isolated from the brine-seawater interface at Erba Deep in the Red Sea (Saudi Arabia). Cells of both strains were aerobic, rod-shaped, non-motile, and Gram-stain-negative. The sequence similarity of the 16S rRNA genes of strains ZGT108T and ZGT118T was 94.9 %. The highest 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity of strain ZGT108T to its closest relative, Ruegeria conchae JCM 17315T, was 98.9 %, while the 16S rRNA gene of ZGT118T was most closely related to that of Ruegeria intermedia LMG 25539T (97.7 % similarity). The sizes of the draft genomes as presented here are 4 258 055 bp (strain ZGT108T) and 4 012 109 bp (strain ZGT118T), and the G+C contents of the draft genomes are 56.68 mol% (ZGT108T) and 62.94 mol% (ZGT108T). The combined physiological, biochemical, phylogenetic and genotypic data supported placement of both strains in the genus Ruegeria and indicated that the two strains are distinct from each other as well as from all other members in the genus Ruegeria. This was also confirmed by low DNA-DNA hybridization values (<43.6 %) and low ANI values (<91.8 %) between both strains and the most closely related Ruegeria species. Therefore, we propose two novel species in the genus Ruegeria to accommodate these novel isolates: Ruegeriaprofundi sp. nov. (type strain ZGT108T=JCM 19518T=ACCC 19861T) and Ruegeriamarisrubri sp. nov. (type strain ZGT118T=JCM 19519T= ACCC 19862T).
  • Ponticoccus marisrubri sp. nov., a moderately halophilic marine bacterium of the family Rhodobacteraceae

    Zhang, Guishan; Haroon, Mohamed; Zhang, Ruifu; Dong, Xiaoyan; Liu, Di; Xiong, Qin; Xun, Weibing; Dong, Xiuzhu; Stingl, Ulrich (International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, Microbiology Society, 2017-10-06) [Article]
    Strain SJ5A-1T, a Gram-stain-negative, coccus-shaped, non-motile, aerobic bacterium, was isolated from the brine-seawater interface of the Erba Deep in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. The colonies of strain SJ5A-1T have a beige to pale-brown pigmentation, are approximately 0.5-0.7 µm in diameter, and are catalase and oxidase positive. Growth occurred optimally at 30-33 °C, pH 7.0-7.5, and in the presence of 9.0-12.0 % NaCl (w/v). Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene indicates that strain SJ5A-1T is a member of the genus Ponticoccus within the family Rhodobacteraceae. Ponticoccus litoralis DSM 18986T is the most closely related described species based on 16S rRNA gene sequence identity (96.7 %). The DNA-DNA hybridization value between strain SJ5A-1T and P. litoralis DSM 18986T was 36.7 %. The major respiratory quinone of strain SJ5A-1T is Q-10; it predominantly uses the fatty acids C18 : 1 (54.2 %), C18 : 0 (11.2 %), C16 : 0 (8.6 %), 11-methyl C18 : 1ω7c (7.7 %), C19 : 0cyclo ω8c (3.3 %), and C12 : 1 3-OH (3.5 %), and its major polar lipids are phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphocholine, an unknown aminolipid, an unknown phospholipid and two unknown lipids. The genome draft of strain SJ5A-1T as presented here is 4 562 830 bp in size and the DNA G+C content is 68.0 mol %. Based on phenotypic, phylogenetic and genotypic data, strain SJ5A-1T represents a novel species in the genus Ponticoccus, for which we propose the name Ponticoccus marisrubri sp. nov. The type strain of P. marisrubri is SJ5A-1T (=JCM 19520T=ACCC19863T).
  • Testing the Metabolic Theory of Ecology with marine bacteria: Different temperature sensitivity of major phylogenetic groups during the spring phytoplankton bloom

    Arandia-Gorostidi, Nestor; Huete-Stauffer, Tamara; Alonso-Sáez, Laura; Moran, Xose Anxelu G. (Environmental Microbiology, Wiley, 2017-10-02) [Article]
    Although temperature is a key driver of bacterioplankton metabolism, the effect of ocean warming on different bacterial phylogenetic groups remains unclear. Here, we conducted monthly short-term incubations with natural coastal bacterial communities over an annual cycle to test the effect of experimental temperature on the growth rates and carrying capacities of four phylogenetic groups: SAR11, Rhodobacteraceae, Gammaproteobacteria and Bacteroidetes. SAR11 was the most abundant group year-round as analysed by CARD-FISH, with maximum abundances in summer, while the other taxa peaked in spring. All groups, including SAR11, showed high temperature-sensitivity of growth rates and/or carrying capacities in spring, under phytoplankton bloom or post-bloom conditions. In that season, Rhodobacteraceae showed the strongest temperature response in growth rates, estimated here as activation energy (E, 1.43 eV), suggesting an advantage to outcompete other groups under warmer conditions. In summer E values were in general lower than 0.65 eV, the value predicted by the Metabolic Theory of Ecology (MTE). Contrary to MTE predictions, carrying capacity tended to increase with warming for all bacterial groups. Our analysis confirms that resource availability is key when addressing the temperature response of heterotrophic bacterioplankton. We further show that even under nutrient-sufficient conditions, warming differentially affected distinct bacterioplankton taxa. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

    Cardenas, Anny; Neave, Matthew J.; Haroon, Mohamed; Pogoreutz, Claudia; Radecker, Nils; Wild, Christian; Gärdes, Astrid; Voolstra, Christian R. (The ISME Journal, Springer Nature, 2017-09-12) [Article]
    Coastal pollution and algal cover are increasing on many coral reefs, resulting in higher dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. High DOC concentrations strongly affect microbial activity in reef waters and select for copiotrophic, often potentially virulent microbial populations. High DOC concentrations on coral reefs are also hypothesized to be a determinant for switching microbial lifestyles from commensal to pathogenic, thereby contributing to coral reef degradation, but evidence is missing. In this study, we conducted ex situ incubations to assess gene expression of planktonic microbial populations under elevated concentrations of naturally abundant monosaccharides (glucose, galactose, mannose, and xylose) in algal exudates and sewage inflows. We assembled 27 near-complete (>70%) microbial genomes through metagenomic sequencing and determined associated expression patterns through metatranscriptomic sequencing. Differential gene expression analysis revealed a shift in the central carbohydrate metabolism and the induction of metalloproteases, siderophores, and toxins in Alteromonas, Erythrobacter, Oceanicola, and Alcanivorax populations. Sugar-specific induction of virulence factors suggests a mechanistic link for the switch from a commensal to a pathogenic lifestyle, particularly relevant during increased algal cover and human-derived pollution on coral reefs. Although an explicit test remains to be performed, our data support the hypothesis that increased availability of specific sugars changes net microbial community activity in ways that increase the emergence and abundance of opportunistic pathogens, potentially contributing to coral reef degradation.
  • Metabarcoding Reveals Seasonal and Temperature-Dependent Succession of Zooplankton Communities in the Red Sea

    Castano, Laura Casas; Pearman, John K.; Irigoien, Xabier (Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2017-08-02) [Article]
    Very little is known about the composition and the annual cycle of zooplankton assemblages in the Red Sea, a confined water body characterized by a high biodiversity and endemism but at the same time one of the most understudied areas in the world in terms of marine biodiversity. This high diversity together with the lack of references for several of the groups poses a problem in obtaining basic information on zooplankton seasonal patterns. In the present work, we used high throughput sequencing to examine the temporal and spatial distribution of the zooplankton communities inhabiting the epipelagic zone in the central Red Sea. The analysis of zooplankton assemblages collected at two sites—coastal and offshore—twice a month at several depth strata by using MANTA, Bongo and WP2 nets provides baseline information of the seasonal patterns of the zooplankton community over 1 year. We show that the seasonal fluctuation of zooplankton communities living in the upper 100 m of the water column is driven mainly by the annual changes in seawater temperature. The 18S rRNA gene was used for metabarcoding of zooplankton assemblages revealing 630 metazoan OTUs (97% similarity) in five phyla, highlighting the richness of the Red Sea community. During colder months, communities were characterized by lower richness and higher biomass than communities found during the hot season. Throughout the year the zooplankton communities were dominated by the class Maxillopoda, mainly represented by copepods and class Hydrozoa. The rise in the water temperature favors the appearance of classes Malacostraca, Cephalopoda, Gastropoda, and Saggitoidea. The present study provides essential baseline information for future monitoring and improves our knowledge of the marine ecosystem in the Red Sea while reporting the main environmental variable structuring zooplankton assemblages in this region.
  • Microbial planktonic communities in the Red Sea: high levels of spatial and temporal variability shaped by nutrient availability and turbulence

    Pearman, John K.; Ellis, Joanne; Irigoien, Xabier; Yellepeddi, Sarma B.; Jones, Burton; Carvalho, Susana (Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 2017-07-26) [Article]
    The semi-enclosed nature of the Red Sea (20.2°N-38.5°N) makes it a natural laboratory to study the influence of environmental gradients on microbial communities. This study investigates the composition and structure of microbial prokaryotes and eukaryotes using molecular methods, targeting ribosomal RNA genes across different regions and seasons. The interaction between spatial and temporal scales results in different scenarios of turbulence and nutrient conditions allowing for testing of ecological theory that categorizes the response of the plankton community to these variations. The prokaryotic reads are mainly comprised of Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria (Alpha and Gamma), with eukaryotic reads dominated by Dinophyceae and Syndiniophyceae. Periodic increases in the proportion of Mamiellophyceae and Bacillariophyceae reads were associated with alterations in the physical oceanography leading to nutrient increases either through the influx of Gulf of Aden Intermediate Water (south in the fall) or through water column mixing processes (north in the spring). We observed that in general dissimilarity amongst microbial communities increased when nutrient concentrations were higher, whereas richness (observed OTUs) was higher in scenarios of higher turbulence. Maximum abundance models showed the differential responses of dominant taxa to temperature giving an indication how taxa will respond as waters become warmer and more oligotrophic.
  • Genomic Characterization of Two Novel SAR11 Isolates From the Red Sea, Including the First Strain of the SAR11 Ib clade

    Jimenez Infante, Francy M.; Ngugi, David; Vinu, Manikandan; Blom, Jochen; Alam, Intikhab; Bajic, Vladimir B.; Stingl, Ulrich (FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2017-06-22) [Article]
    The SAR11 clade (Pelagibacterales) is a diverse group that forms a monophyletic clade within the Alphaproteobacteria, and constitutes up to one third of all prokaryotic cells in the photic zone of most oceans. Pelagibacterales are very abundant in the warm and highly saline surface waters of the Red Sea, raising the question of adaptive traits of SAR11 populations in this water body and warmer oceans through the world. In this study, two pure cultures were successfully obtained from surface waters on the Red Sea, one isolate of subgroup Ia and one of the previously uncultured SAR11 Ib lineage. The novel genomes were very similar to each other and to genomes of isolates of SAR11 subgroup Ia (Ia pan-genome), both in terms of gene content and synteny. Among the genes that were not present in the Ia pan-genome, 108 (RS39, Ia) and 151 genes (RS40, Ib) were strain-specific. Detailed analyses showed that only 51 (RS39, Ia) and 55 (RS40, Ib) of these strain-specific genes had not reported before on genome fragments of Pelagibacterales. Further analyses revealed the potential production of phosphonates by some SAR11 members and possible adaptations for oligotrophic life, including pentose sugar utilization and adhesion to marine particulate matter.
  • Distribution of phytoplankton groups within the deep chlorophyll maximum

    Latasa, Mikel; Cabello, Ana María; Moran, Xose Anxelu G.; Massana, Ramon; Scharek, Renate (Limnology and Oceanography, Wiley, 2016-11-01) [Article]
    The fine vertical distribution of phytoplankton groups within the deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM) was studied in the NE Atlantic during summer stratification. A simple but unconventional sampling strategy allowed examining the vertical structure with ca. 2 m resolution. The distribution of Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus, chlorophytes, pelagophytes, small prymnesiophytes, coccolithophores, diatoms, and dinoflagellates was investigated with a combination of pigment-markers, flow cytometry and optical and FISH microscopy. All groups presented minimum abundances at the surface and a maximum in the DCM layer. The cell distribution was not vertically symmetrical around the DCM peak and cells tended to accumulate in the upper part of the DCM layer. The more symmetrical distribution of chlorophyll than cells around the DCM peak was due to the increase of pigment per cell with depth. We found a vertical alignment of phytoplankton groups within the DCM layer indicating preferences for different ecological niches in a layer with strong gradients of light and nutrients. Prochlorococcus occupied the shallowest and diatoms the deepest layers. Dinoflagellates, Synechococcus and small prymnesiophytes preferred shallow DCM layers, and coccolithophores, chlorophytes and pelagophytes showed a preference for deep layers. Cell size within groups changed with depth in a pattern related to their mean size: the cell volume of the smallest group increased the most with depth while the cell volume of the largest group decreased the most. The vertical alignment of phytoplankton groups confirms that the DCM is not a homogeneous entity and indicates groups’ preferences for different ecological niches within this layer.
  • Comparative metatranscriptomics reveals decline of a neustonic planktonic population

    Mojib, Nazia; Thimma, Manjula; Mande, Kumaran Kuppusamy; Sougrat, Rachid; Irigoien, Xabier (Limnology and Oceanography, Wiley, 2016-10-20) [Article]
    The neuston layer in tropical seas provides a good model to study the effects of increased levels of different stressors (e.g., temperature, ultraviolet radiation and Trichodesmium blooms). Here, we use a comparative in situ metatranscriptomics approach to reveal the functional genomic composition of metabolically active neustonic mesozooplankton community in response to the summer conditions in the Red Sea. The neustonic population exhibited changes in composition and abundance with a significant decline in copepods and appendicularia in July, when Trichodesmium cells were more abundant along with high temperatures and UV-B radiation. Nearly 23,000 genes were differentially expressed at the community level when the metatranscriptomes of the neustonic zooplankton were compared in April, July, and October. On a wider Phylum level, the genes related to oxidative phosphorylation, carbon, nucleotides, amino acids, and lipids were significantly overrepresented in both arthropods and chordates in April and October. On organism level for copepods, expression of genes responsive to oxidative stress, defense against bacteria, immune response, and virus reproduction were increased along with the observed increased appearance of copepod carcasses in the samples collected during July. The differences in expression correspond either to secondary effects of the Trichodesmium bloom or more likely to the increased UV-B radiation in July. Given the dearth of information on the zooplankton gene expression in response to environmental stimuli, our study provides the first transcriptome landscape of the mesozooplankton community during a period of increased mortality of the copepod and appendicularia population.
  • Ecogenomics and potential biogeochemical impacts of globally abundant ocean viruses

    Roux, Simon; Brum, Jennifer R; Dutilh, Bas E.; Sunagawa, Shinichi; Duhaime, Melissa B; Loy, Alexander; Poulos, Bonnie T; Solonenko, Natalie; Lara, Elena; Poulain, Julie; Pesant, Stephane; Kandels-Lewis, Stefanie; Dimier, Celine; Picheral, Marc; Searson, Sarah; Cruaud, Corinne; Alberti, Adriana; Duarte, Carlos M.; Gasol, Josep M M; Vaque, Dolors; Bork, Peer; Acinas, Silvia G; Wincker, Patrick; Sullivan, Matthew B (Nature, Springer Nature, 2016-09-21) [Article]
    Ocean microbes drive biogeochemical cycling on a global scale. However, this cycling is constrained by viruses that affect community composition, metabolic activity, and evolutionary trajectories. Owing to challenges with the sampling and cultivation of viruses, genome-level viral diversity remains poorly described and grossly understudied, with less than 1% of observed surface-ocean viruses known. Here we assemble complete genomes and large genomic fragments from both surface-and deep-ocean viruses sampled during the Tara Oceans and Malaspina research expeditions, and analyse the resulting â global ocean virome' dataset to present a global map of abundant, double-stranded DNA viruses complete with genomic and ecological contexts. A total of 15,222 epipelagic and mesopelagic viral populations were identified, comprising 867 viral clusters (defined as approximately genus-level groups). This roughly triples the number of known ocean viral populations and doubles the number of candidate bacterial and archaeal virus genera, providing a near-complete sampling of epipelagic communities at both the population and viral-cluster level. We found that 38 of the 867 viral clusters were locally or globally abundant, together accounting for nearly half of the viral populations in any global ocean virome sample. While two-thirds of these clusters represent newly described viruses lacking any cultivated representative, most could be computationally linked to dominant, ecologically relevant microbial hosts. Moreover, we identified 243 viral-encoded auxiliary metabolic genes, of which only 95 were previously known. Deeper analyses of four of these auxiliary metabolic genes (dsrC, soxYZ, P-II (also known as glnB) and amoC) revealed that abundant viruses may directly manipulate sulfur and nitrogen cycling throughout the epipelagic ocean. This viral catalog and functional analyses provide a necessary foundation for the meaningful integration of viruses into ecosystem models where they act as key players in nutrient cycling and trophic networks. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature.
  • A catalogue of 136 microbial draft genomes from Red Sea metagenomes

    Haroon, Mohamed; Thompson, Luke R.; Parks, Donovan H.; Hugenholtz, Philip; Stingl, Ulrich (Scientific Data, Springer Nature, 2016-07-05) [Article]
    Earth is expected to continue warming and the Red Sea is a model environment for understanding the effects of global warming on ocean microbiomes due to its unusually high temperature, salinity and solar irradiance. However, most microbial diversity analyses of the Red Sea have been limited to cultured representatives and single marker gene analyses, hence neglecting the substantial uncultured majority. Here, we report 136 microbial genomes (completion minus contamination is ≥50%) assembled from 45 metagenomes from eight stations spanning the Red Sea and taken from multiple depths between 10 to 500 m. Phylogenomic analysis showed that most of the retrieved genomes belong to seven different phyla of known marine microbes, but more than half representing currently uncultured species. The open-access data presented here is the largest number of Red Sea representative microbial genomes reported in a single study and will help facilitate future studies in understanding the physiology of these microorganisms and how they have adapted to the relatively harsh conditions of the Red Sea.
  • Dispersal similarly shapes both population genetics and community patterns in the marine realm

    Chust, Guillem; Villarino, Ernesto; Chenuil, Anne; Irigoien, Xabier; Bizsel, Nihayet; Bode, Antonio; Broms, Cecilie; Claus, Simon; Fernández de Puelles, María L.; Fonda-Umani, Serena; Hoarau, Galice; Mazzocchi, Maria G.; Mozetič, Patricija; Vandepitte, Leen; Veríssimo, Helena; Zervoudaki, Soultana; Borja, Angel (Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 2016-06-27) [Article]
    Dispersal plays a key role to connect populations and, if limited, is one of the main processes to maintain and generate regional biodiversity. According to neutral theories of molecular evolution and biodiversity, dispersal limitation of propagules and population stochasticity are integral to shaping both genetic and community structure. We conducted a parallel analysis of biological connectivity at genetic and community levels in marine groups with different dispersal traits. We compiled large data sets of population genetic structure (98 benthic macroinvertebrate and 35 planktonic species) and biogeographic data (2193 benthic macroinvertebrate and 734 planktonic species). We estimated dispersal distances from population genetic data (i.e., FST vs. geographic distance) and from β-diversity at the community level. Dispersal distances ranked the biological groups in the same order at both genetic and community levels, as predicted by organism dispersal ability and seascape connectivity: macrozoobenthic species without dispersing larvae, followed by macrozoobenthic species with dispersing larvae and plankton (phyto- and zooplankton). This ranking order is associated with constraints to the movement of macrozoobenthos within the seabed compared with the pelagic habitat. We showed that dispersal limitation similarly determines the connectivity degree of communities and populations, supporting the predictions of neutral theories in marine biodiversity patterns.
  • Distribution of Prochlorococcus Ecotypes in the Red Sea Basin Based on Analyses of rpoC1 Sequences

    Shibl, Ahmed A.; Haroon, Mohamed; Ngugi, David; Thompson, Luke R.; Stingl, Ulrich (Frontiers in Marine Science, Frontiers Media SA, 2016-06-24) [Article]
    The marine picocyanobacteria Prochlorococcus represent a significant fraction of the global pelagic bacterioplankton community. Specifically, in the surface waters of the Red Sea, they account for around 91% of the phylum Cyanobacteria. Previous work suggested a widespread presence of high-light (HL)-adapted ecotypes in the Red Sea with the occurrence of low-light (LL)-adapted ecotypes at intermediate depths in the water column. To obtain a more comprehensive dataset over a wider biogeographical scope, we used a 454-pyrosequencing approach to analyze the diversity of the Prochlorococcus rpoC1 gene from a total of 113 samples at various depths (up to 500 m) from 45 stations spanning the Red Sea basin from north to south. In addition, we analyzed 45 metagenomes from eight stations using hidden Markov models based on a set of reference Prochlorococcus genomes to (1) estimate the relative abundance of Prochlorococcus based on 16S rRNA gene sequences, and (2) identify and classify rpoC1 sequences as an assessment of the community structure of Prochlorococcus in the northern, central and southern regions of the basin without amplification bias. Analyses of metagenomic data indicated that Prochlorococcus occurs at a relative abundance of around 9% in samples from surface waters (25, 50, 75 m), 3% in intermediate waters (100 m) and around 0.5% in deep-water samples (200–500 m). Results based on rpoC1 sequences using both methods showed that HL II cells dominate surface waters and were also present in deep-water samples. Prochlorococcus communities in intermediate waters (100 m) showed a higher diversity and co-occurrence of low-light and high-light ecotypes. Prochlorococcus communities at each depth range (surface, intermediate, deep sea) did not change significantly over the sampled transects spanning most of the Saudi waters in the Red Sea. Statistical analyses of rpoC1 sequences from metagenomes indicated that the vertical distribution of Prochlorococcus in the water column is correlated with physicochemical gradients: temperature and oxygen are positively correlated with HL II (R2 = 0.71, p ≤ 0.05) while Chl a concentration, nutrient concentrations and salinity correlate with the prevalence of LL clades.
  • Experimental Warming Decreases the Average Size and Nucleic Acid Content of Marine Bacterial Communities

    Huete-Stauffer, Tamara M.; Arandia-Gorostidi, Nestor; Alonso-Sáez, Laura; Moran, Xose Anxelu G. (Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media SA, 2016-05-23) [Article]
    Organism size reduction with increasing temperature has been suggested as a universal response to global warming. Since genome size is usually correlated to cell size, reduction of genome size in unicells could be a parallel outcome of warming at ecological and evolutionary time scales. In this study, the short-term response of cell size and nucleic acid content of coastal marine prokaryotic communities to temperature was studied over a full annual cycle at a NE Atlantic temperate site. We used flow cytometry and experimental warming incubations, spanning a 6°C range, to analyze the hypothesized reduction with temperature in the size of the widespread flow cytometric bacterial groups of high and low nucleic acid content (HNA and LNA bacteria, respectively). Our results showed decreases in size in response to experimental warming, which were more marked in 0.8 μm pre-filtered treatment rather than in the whole community treatment, thus excluding the role of protistan grazers in our findings. Interestingly, a significant effect of temperature on reducing the average nucleic acid content (NAC) of prokaryotic cells in the communities was also observed. Cell size and nucleic acid decrease with temperature were correlated, showing a common mean decrease of 0.4% per °C. The usually larger HNA bacteria consistently showed a greater reduction in cell and NAC compared with their LNA counterparts, especially during the spring phytoplankton bloom period associated to maximum bacterial growth rates in response to nutrient availability. Our results show that the already smallest planktonic microbes, yet with key roles in global biogeochemical cycling, are likely undergoing important structural shrinkage in response to rising temperatures.
  • Seasonality and toxin production of Pyrodinium bahamense in a Red Sea lagoon

    Banguera Hinestroza, Eulalia; Eikrem, W.; Mansour, H.; Solberg, Ingrid; Curdia, Joao; Holtermann, Karie Ellen; Edvardsen, B.; Kaartvedt, Stein (Harmful Algae, Elsevier BV, 2016-03-19) [Article]
    Harmful algal blooms of the dinoflagellate Pyrodinium bahamense have caused human and economic losses in the last decades. This study, for the first time, documents a bloom of P. bahamense in the Red Sea. The alga was recurrently present in a semi-enclosed lagoon throughout nearly 2 years of observations. The highest cell densities (104-105 cells L-1) were recorded from September to beginning of December at temperatures and salinities of ~26-32 °C and ~41, respectively. The peak of the bloom was recorded mid-November, before a sharp decrease in cell numbers at the end of December. Minimum concentrations in summer were at ~103 cells L-1. A saxitoxin ELISA immunoassay of cultures and water samples confirmed the toxicity of the strain found in the Red Sea. Moreover, a gene expression analysis of the saxitoxin gene domain SxtA4 showed that transcript production peaked at the culmination of the bloom, suggesting a relation between transcript production, sudden cells increment-decline, and environmental factors. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.
  • Draft Genome Sequence of Pseudoalteromonas sp. Strain XI10 Isolated from the Brine-Seawater Interface of Erba Deep in the Red Sea

    Zhang, Guishan; Haroon, Mohamed; Zhang, Ruifu; Hikmawan, Tyas I.; Stingl, Ulrich (Genome Announcements, American Society for Microbiology, 2016-03-10) [Article]
    Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain XI10 was isolated from the brine-seawater interface of Erba Deep in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of strain XI10, a gammaproteobacterium that synthesizes polysaccharides for biofilm formation when grown in liquid culture.
  • Draft Genome Sequences of TwoThiomicrospiraStrains Isolated from the Brine-Seawater Interface of Kebrit Deep in the Red Sea

    Zhang, Guishan; Haroon, Mohamed; Zhang, Ruifu; Hikmawan, Tyas I.; Stingl, Ulrich (Genome Announcements, American Society for Microbiology, 2016-03-10) [Article]
    Two Thiomicrospira strains, WB1 and XS5, were isolated from the Kebrit Deep brine-seawater interface in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. Here, we present the draft genome sequences of these gammaproteobacteria, which both produce sulfuric acid from thiosulfate in culture.
  • Draft Genome Sequence of Uncultured SAR324 Bacterium lautmerah10, Binned from a Red Sea Metagenome

    Haroon, Mohamed; Thompson, Luke R.; Stingl, Ulrich (Genome Announcements, American Society for Microbiology, 2016-02-11) [Article]
    A draft genome of SAR324 bacterium lautmerah10 was assembled from a metagenome of a surface water sample from the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia. The genome is more complete and has a higher G+C content than that of previously sequenced SAR324 representatives. Its genomic information shows a versatile metabolism that confers an advantage to SAR324, which is reflected in its distribution throughout different depths of the marine water column.
  • Comprehensive genomic analyses of the OM43 clade including a novel species from Red Sea indicate ecotype differentiation among marine methylotrophs

    Jimenez Infante, Francy M.; Ngugi, David; Vinu, Manikandan; Alam, Intikhab; Kamau, Allan; Blom, Jochen; Bajic, Vladimir B.; Stingl, Ulrich (Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2015-12-11) [Article]
    The OM43 clade within the family Methylophilaceae of Betaproteobacteria represents a group of methylotrophs playing important roles in the metabolism of C1 compounds in marine environments and other aquatic environments around the globe. Using dilution-to-extinction cultivation techniques, we successfully isolated a novel species of this clade (designated here as MBRS-H7) from the ultra-oligotrophic open ocean waters of the central Red Sea. Phylogenomic analyses indicate that MBRS-H7 is a novel species, which forms a distinct cluster together with isolate KB13 from Hawaii (H-RS cluster) that is separate from that represented by strain HTCC2181 (from the Oregon coast). Phylogenetic analyses using the robust 16S–23S internal transcribed spacer revealed a potential ecotype separation of the marine OM43 clade members, which was further confirmed by metagenomic fragment recruitment analyses that showed trends of higher abundance in low chlorophyll and/or high temperature provinces for the H-RS cluster, but a preference for colder, highly productive waters for the HTCC2181 cluster. This potential environmentally driven niche differentiation is also reflected in the metabolic gene inventories, which in the case of H-RS include those conferring resistance to high levels of UV irradiation, temperature, and salinity. Interestingly, we also found different energy conservation modules between these OM43 subclades, namely the existence of the NADH:quinone oxidoreductase NUO system in the H-RS and the non-homologous NQR system in HTCC2181, which might have implications on their overall energetic yields.

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