Long term seasonal dynamics of synechococcus population structure in the gulf of aqaba, northern red sea.
ABSTRACT: Spatial patterns of marine Synechococcus diversity across ocean domains have been reported on extensively. However, much less is known of seasonal and multiannual patterns of change in Synechococcus community composition. Here we report on the genotypic diversity of Synechococcus populations in the Gulf of Aqaba, Northern Red Sea, over seven annual cycles of deep mixing and stabile stratification, using ntcA as a phylogenetic marker. Synechococcus clone libraries were dominated by clade II and XII genotypes and a total of eight different clades were identified. Inclusion of ntcA sequences from the Global Ocean Sampling database in our analyses identified members of clade XII from beyond the Gulf of Aqaba, extending its known distribution. Most of the Synechococcus diversity was attributed to members of clade II during the spring bloom, while clade III contributed significantly to diversity during summer stratification. Clade XII diversity was most prevalent in fall and winter. Clade abundances were estimated from pyrosequencing of the V6 hypervariable region of 16S rRNA. Members of clade II dominated Synechococcus communities throughout the year, whereas the less frequent genotypes showed a pattern of seasonal succession. Based on the prevailing nutritional conditions we observed that clade I members thrive at higher nutrient concentrations during winter mixing. Clades V, VI and X became apparent during the transition periods between mixing and stratification. Clade III became prominent during sumeer stratification. We propose that members of clades V, VI, and X, and clade III are Synechococcus ecotypes that are adapted to intermediate and low nutrient levels respectively. This is the first time that molecular analyses have correlated population dynamics of Synechococcus genotypes with temporal fluctuations in nutrient regimes. Since these Synechococcus genotypes are routinely observed in the Gulf of Aqaba we suggest that seasonal fluctuations in nutrient levels create temporal niches that sustain their coexistence.
Project description:Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus are pico-sized cyanobacteria that play a fundamental role in oceanic primary production, being particularly important in warm, nutrient-poor waters. Their potential response to nutrient enrichment is expected to be contrasting and to differ from larger phytoplankton species. Here, we used a metagenomic approach to characterize the responses to nutrient enrichment in the community of picocyanobacteria and to analyze the cyanophage response during a mesocosms experiment in the oligotrophic Red Sea. Natural picoplankton community was dominated by Synechococcus clade II, with marginal presence of Prochlorococcus (0.3% bacterial reads). Increased nutrient input triggered a fast Synechococcus bloom, with clade II being the dominant, with no response of Prochlorococcus growth. The largest bloom developed in the mesocosms receiving a single initial input of nutrients, instead of daily additions. The relative abundances of cyanophage sequences in cellular metagenomes increased during the experiment from 12.6% of total virus reads up to 40% in the treatment with the largest Synechococcus bloom. The subsequent collapse of the bloom pointed to a cyanophage infection on Synechococcus that reduced its competitive capacity, and was then followed by a diatom bloom. The cyanophage attack appears to have preferentially affected the most abundant Synechococcus clade II, increasing the evenness within the host population. Our results highlight the relevance of host-phage interactions on determining population dynamics and diversity of Synechococcus populations.
Project description:Marine Synechococcus is a globally significant genus of cyanobacteria that is comprised of multiple genetic lineages or clades. These clades are thought to represent ecologically distinct units, or ecotypes. Because multiple clades often co-occur together in the oceans, Synechococcus are ideal microbes to explore how closely related bacterial taxa within the same functional guild of organisms co-exist and partition marine habitats. Here we sequenced multiple gene loci from cultured strains to confirm the congruency of clade classifications between the 16S-23S rDNA internally transcribed spacer (ITS), 16S rDNA, narB, ntcA, and rpoC1 loci commonly used in Synechococcus diversity studies. We designed quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays that target the ITS for 10 Synechococcus clades, including four clades, XV, XVI, CRD1, and CRD2, not covered by previous assays employing other loci. Our new qPCR assays are very sensitive and specific, detecting down to tens of cells per ml. Application of these qPCR assays to field samples from the northwest Atlantic showed clear shifts in Synechococcus community composition across a coastal to open-ocean transect. Consistent with previous studies, clades I and IV dominated cold, coastal Synechococcus communities. Clades II and X were abundant at the two warmer, off-shore stations, and at all stations multiple Synechococcus clades co-occurred. qPCR assays developed here provide valuable tools to further explore the dynamics of microbial community structure and the mechanisms of co-existence.
Project description:Metatranscriptomic differential RNA-Seq (mdRNA-Seq) identifies the suite of active transcriptional start sites at single-nucleotide resolution through enrichment of primary transcript 5' ends. Here we analyzed the microbial community at 45?m depth at Station A in the northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, during 500?m deep mixing in February 2012 using mdRNA-Seq and a parallel classical RNA-Seq approach. We identified promoters active in situ for five different pico-planktonic genera (the SAR11 clade of Alphaproteobacteria, Synechococcus of Cyanobacteria, Euryarchaeota, Thaumarchaeota, and Micromonas as an example for picoeukaryotic algae), showing the applicability of this approach to highly diverse microbial communities. 16S rDNA quantification revealed that 24% of the analyzed community were group II marine Euryarchaeota in which we identified a highly abundant non-coding RNA, Tan1, and detected very high expression of genes encoding intrinsically disordered proteins, as well as enzymes for the synthesis of specific B vitamins, extracellular peptidases, carbohydrate-active enzymes, and transport systems. These results highlight previously unknown functions of Euryarchaeota with community-wide relevance. The complementation of metatranscriptomic studies with mdRNA-Seq provides substantial additional information regarding transcriptional start sites, promoter activities, and the identification of non-coding RNAs.
Project description:The ntcA gene from Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 encodes a regulatory protein which is required for the expression of all of the genes known to be subject to repression by ammonium in that cyanobacterium. Homologs to ntcA have now been cloned by hybridization from the cyanobacteria Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803 and Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Sequence analysis has shown that these ntcA genes would encode polypeptides strongly similar (77 to 79% identity) to the Synechococcus NtcA protein. Sequences hybridizing to ntcA have been detected in the genomes of nine other cyanobacteria that were tested, including strains of the genera Anabaena, Calothrix, Fischerella, Nostoc, Pseudoanabaena, Synechococcus, and Synechocystis.
Project description:Prokaryotes play an important role in biogeochemical cycling in marine ecosystems, but little is known about their diversity and composition, and how they may contribute to the ecological functioning of coastal areas in the South Mediterranean Sea. This study investigated bacterial and archaeal community diversity in seawater samples along the Tunisian coast subject to important physicochemical disturbances. The 16S amplicon sequencing survey revealed higher prokaryotic diversity in the northern Tunisian bays than in southeastern waters (Gulf of Gabès). The major taxonomic groups identified in all samples were <i>Alphaproteobacteria</i> (40.9%), <i>Gammaproteobacteria</i> (18.7%), Marine Group II <i>Euryarchaeota</i> (11.3%), and <i>Cyanobacteria</i> (10.9%). Among them, the relative abundance of <i>Alteromonadales</i>, <i>Prochlorococcus</i>, and some clades of <i>Pelagibacterales</i> (SAR11) significantly differed between the northern and the southern bays, whereas no difference was observed across coastal waters in the archaeal <i>Candidatus</i> Poseidoniales (MGII), <i>Synechococcus</i>, and <i>Pelagibacteraceae</i> (SAR11 clade Ia), for which no relationship was observed with the environmental variables. Both <i>Pseudoalteromonas</i> and <i>Alteromonas</i> levels increased with the increasing salinity, density and nutrients (NH<sub>4</sub> <sup>+</sup> and/or PO<sub>4</sub> <sup>3-</sup>) gradients detected toward the southern waters, while the SAR11 clades Ib and IV and <i>Prochlorococcus</i>, decreased in the shallow, salty and nutrient-rich coastal waters of the Gulf of Gabès. <i>Rhodobacteraceae</i> was positively correlated with <i>Synechococcus</i> and chlorophyll levels, suggesting a relationship with phytoplankton biomass. The present study provides the first insights into planktonic prokaryotic community composition in the South Mediterranean Sea through the analysis of Tunisian seawaters, which may support further investigations on the role of bacterioplankton in the biogeochemistry of these ecosystems.
Project description:This communication describes a new octocoral, Altumia delicatagen. n. & sp. n. (Octocorallia: Clavulariidae), from mesophotic reefs of Eilat (northern Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea). This species lives on dead antipatharian colonies and on artificial substrates. It has been recorded from deeper than 60 m down to 140 m and is thus considered to be a lower mesophotic octocoral. It has no sclerites and features no symbiotic zooxanthellae. The new genus is compared to other known sclerite-free octocorals. Molecular phylogenetic analyses place it in a clade with members of families Clavulariidae and Acanthoaxiidae, and for now we assign it to the former, based on colony morphology. The polyphyletic family Clavulariidae is, however, in need of a thorough revision once the morphological distinctions among its phylogenetically distinct clades are better understood.
Project description:Unicellular marine cyanobacteria are ubiquitous in both coastal and oligotrophic regimes. The contribution of these organisms to primary production and nutrient cycling is substantial on a global scale. Natural populations of marine Synechococcus strains include multiple genetic lineages, but the link, if any, between unique phenotypic traits and specific genetic groups is still not understood. We studied the genetic diversity (as determined by the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase rpoC1 gene sequence) of a set of marine Synechococcus isolates that are able to swim. Our results show that these isolates form a monophyletic group. This finding represents the first example of correspondence between a physiological trait and a phylogenetic group in marine Synechococcus. In contrast, the phycourobilin (PUB)/phycoerythrobilin (PEB) pigment ratios of members of the motile clade varied considerably. An isolate obtained from the California Current (strain CC9703) displayed a pigment signature identical to that of nonmotile strain WH7803, which is considered a model for low-PUB/PEB-ratio strains, whereas several motile strains had higher PUB/PEB ratios than strain WH8103, which is considered a model for high-PUB/PEB-ratio strains. These findings indicate that the PUB/PEB pigment ratio is not a useful characteristic for defining phylogenetic groups of marine Synechococcus strains.
Project description:We take an in vivo fluorescence approach to investigate photosynthetic adaptation by ecologically divergent members of the A/B clade of the hot spring cyanobacterium Synechococcus, the most thermotolerant of which defines the upper thermal limit for photosynthesis. During Synechococcus diversification, both photosystem II and the light-harvesting phycobilisome have evolved greater thermostability as the group has invaded higher temperature habitats, particularly for the most thermotolerant lineage. This enhanced function at higher temperatures has come at the cost of reduced performance at lower temperatures, and these trade-offs contribute to niche specialization in the clade. Molecular evolutionary analyses revealed specific adaptive protein changes in the most thermotolerant lineage. Our study advances our understanding of the origins of Synechococcus diversity.
Project description:An octocoral survey conducted in the mesophotic coral ecosystem (MCE) of Eilat (Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea) yielded a new species of the speciose reef-dwelling genus Sinularia. It features encrusting colony morphology with a thin, funnel-shaped polypary. Sinularia mesophoticasp. n. (family Alcyoniidae) is described and compared to the other congeners with similar morphology. Both the morphological and molecular examination justified the establishment of the new species, also assigning it to a new genetic clade within Sinularia. The results highlight its unique phylogenetic position within the genus, and this is the first described species of a mesophotic zooxanthellate octocoral.
Project description:Giant clams (Tridacninae) are important members of Indo-Pacific coral reefs and among the few bivalve groups that live in symbiosis with unicellular algae (Symbiodiniaceae). Despite the importance of these endosymbiotic dinoflagellates for clam ecology, the diversity and specificity of these associations remain relatively poorly studied, especially in the Red Sea. Here, we used the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) rDNA gene region to investigate Symbiodiniaceae communities associated with Red Sea <i>Tridacna maxima</i> clams. We sampled five sites spanning 1,300 km (10° of latitude, from the Gulf of Aqaba, 29°N, to the Farasan Banks, 18°N) along the Red Sea's North-South environmental gradient. We detected a diverse and structured assembly of host-associated algae with communities demonstrating region and site-specificity. Specimens from the Gulf of Aqaba harbored three genera of Symbiodiniaceae, <i>Cladocopium, Durusdinium</i>, and <i>Symbiodinium</i>, while at all other sites clams associated exclusively with algae from the <i>Symbiodinium</i> genus. Of these exclusively <i>Symbiodinium</i>-associating sites, the more northern (27° and 22°) and more southern sites (20° and 18°) formed two separate groupings despite site-specific algal genotypes being resolved at each site. These groupings were congruent with the genetic break seen across multiple marine taxa in the Red Sea at approximately 19°, and along with our documented site-specificity of algal communities, contrasted the panmictic distribution of the <i>T. maxima</i> host. As such, our findings indicate flexibility in <i>T. maxima</i>-Symbiodiniaceae associations that may explain its relatively high environmental plasticity and offers a mechanism for environmental niche adaptation.