High temporal and spatial diversity in marine RNA viruses implies that they have an important role in mortality and structuring plankton communities.
ABSTRACT: Viruses in the order Picornavirales infect eukaryotes, and are widely distributed in coastal waters. Amplicon deep-sequencing of the RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) revealed diverse and highly uneven communities of picorna-like viruses in the coastal waters of British Columbia (BC), Canada. Almost 300 000 pyrosequence reads revealed 145 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on 95% sequence similarity at the amino-acid level. Each sample had between 24 and 71 OTUs and there was little overlap among samples. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that some clades of OTUs were only found at one site; whereas, other clades included OTUs from all sites. Since most of these OTUs are likely from viruses that infect eukaryotic phytoplankton, and viral isolates infecting phytoplankton are strain-specific; each OTU probably arose from the lysis of a specific phytoplankton taxon. Moreover, the patchiness in OTU distribution, and the high turnover of viruses in the mixed layer, implies continuous infection and lysis by RNA viruses of a diverse array of eukaryotic phytoplankton taxa. Hence, these viruses are likely important elements structuring the phytoplankton community, and play a significant role in nutrient cycling and energy transfer.
Project description:The phytoplanktonic production and prokaryotic consumption of organic matter significantly contribute to marine carbon cycling. Organic matter released from phytoplankton via three processes (exudation of living cells, cell disruption through grazing, and viral lysis) shows distinct chemical properties. We herein investigated the effects of phytoplanktonic whole-cell fractions (WF) (representing cell disruption by grazing) and extracellular fractions (EF) (representing exudates) prepared from Heterosigma akashiwo, a bloom-forming Raphidophyceae, on prokaryotic communities using culture-based experiments. We analyzed prokaryotic community changes for two weeks. The shift in cell abundance by both treatments showed similar dynamics, reaching the first peak (~4.1×106? ?cells? ?mL-1) on day 3 and second peak (~1.1×106? ?cells? ?mL-1) on day 13. We classified the sequences obtained into operational taxonomic units (OTUs). A Bray-Curtis dissimilarity analysis revealed that the OTU-level community structure changed distinctively with the two treatments. Ten and 13 OTUs were specifically abundant in the WF and EF treatments, respectively. These OTUs were assigned as heterotrophic bacteria mainly belonging to the Alteromonadales (Gammaproteobacteria) and Bacteroidetes clades and showed successive dynamics following the addition of organic matter. We also analyzed the dynamics of these OTUs in the ocean using publicly available metagenomic data from a natural coastal bloom in Monterey Bay, USA. At least two WF treatment OTUs showed co-occurrence with H. akashiwo, indicating that the blooms of H. akashiwo also affect these OTUs in the ocean. The present results strongly suggest that the thriving and dead cells of uninfected phytoplankton differentially influence the marine prokaryotic community.
Project description:Upwelling areas are shaped by enhanced primary production in surface waters, accompanied by a well-investigated planktonic succession. Although bacteria play an important role in biogeochemical cycles of upwelling systems, little is known about bacterial community composition and its development during upwelling events. The aim of this study was to investigate the succession of bacterial assemblages in aging upwelled water of the Benguela upwelling from coastal to offshore sites. Water from the upper mixed layer at 12 stations was sampled along two transects from the origin of the upwelling to a distance of 220 km. 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was then used in a bacterial diversity analysis and major bacterial taxa were quantified by catalyzed reporter deposition-fluorescence in situ hybridization. Additionally, bacterial cell numbers and bacterial production were assessed. Community statistical analysis revealed a reproducible zonation along the two transects, with four clusters of significantly different microbial assemblages. Clustering was mainly driven by phytoplankton composition and abundance. Similar to the temporal succession that occurs during phytoplankton blooms in temperate coastal waters, operational taxonomic units (OTUs) affiliated with Bacteroidetes and Gammaproteobacteria were dominant during algal blooming whereas "Pelagibacterales" were highly abundant in regions with low algal abundance. The most dominant heterotrophic OTU (9% of all reads) was affiliated with "Pelagibacterales" and showed a strong negative correlation with phytoplankton. By contrast, the second most abundant heterotrophic OTU (6% of all reads) was affiliated with the phylum Verrucomicrobia and correlated positively with phytoplankton. Together with the close relation of bacterial production and phytoplankton abundance, our results showed that bacterial community dynamics is strongly driven by the development and composition of the phytoplankton community.
Project description:Fungi play a critical role in the nutrient cycling and ecological function in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. Yet, many ecological aspects of their counterparts in coastal ecosystems remain largely elusive. Using high-throughput sequencing, quantitative PCR, and environmental data analyses, we studied the spatiotemporal changes in the abundance and diversity of planktonic fungi and their abiotic and biotic interactions in the coastal waters of three transects along the Bohai Sea. A total of 4362 ITS OTUs were identified and more than 60% of which were unclassified Fungi. Of the classified OTUs three major fungal phyla, Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, and Chytridiomycota were predominant with episodic low dominance phyla Cryptomycota and Mucoromycota (Mortierellales). The estimated average Fungi-specific 18S rRNA gene qPCR abundances varied within 4.28 × 106 and 1.13 × 107copies/L with significantly (P < 0.05) different abundances among the transects suggesting potential influence of the different riverine inputs. The spatiotemporal changes in the OTU abundance of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota phyla coincided significantly (P < 0.05) with nutrients traced to riverine inputs and phytoplankton detritus. Among the eight major fungal orders, the abundance of Hypocreales varied significantly (P < 0.01) across months while Capnodiales, Pleosporales, Eurotiales, and Sporidiobolales varied significantly (P < 0.05) across transects. In addition, our results likely suggest a tripartite interaction model for the association within members of Cryptomycota (hyperparasites), Chytridiomycota (both parasites and saprotrophs), and phytoplankton in the coastal waters. The fungal network featured several hubs and keystone OTUs besides the display of cooperative and competitive relationship within OTUs. These results support the notion that planktonic fungi, hitherto mostly undescribed, play diverse ecological roles in marine habitats and further outline niche processes, tripartite and co-occurrence interaction as the major drivers of their community structure and spatiotemporal distribution in the coastal water column.
Project description:Microalgae in the division Haptophyta play key roles in the marine ecosystem and in global biogeochemical processes. Despite their ecological importance, knowledge on seasonal dynamics, community composition and abundance at the species level is limited due to their small cell size and few morphological features visible under the light microscope. Here, we present unique data on haptophyte seasonal diversity and dynamics from two annual cycles, with the taxonomic resolution and sampling depth obtained with high-throughput sequencing. From outer Oslofjorden, S Norway, nano- and picoplanktonic samples were collected monthly for 2 years, and the haptophytes targeted by amplification of RNA/cDNA with Haptophyta-specific 18S rDNA V4 primers. We obtained 156 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), from c. 400.000 454 pyrosequencing reads, after rigorous bioinformatic filtering and clustering at 99.5%. Most OTUs represented uncultured and/or not yet 18S rDNA-sequenced species. Haptophyte OTU richness and community composition exhibited high temporal variation and significant yearly periodicity. Richness was highest in September-October (autumn) and lowest in April-May (spring). Some taxa were detected all year, such as Chrysochromulina simplex, Emiliania huxleyi and Phaeocystis cordata, whereas most calcifying coccolithophores only appeared from summer to early winter. We also revealed the seasonal dynamics of OTUs representing putative novel classes (clades HAP-3-5) or orders (clades D, E, F). Season, light and temperature accounted for 29% of the variation in OTU composition. Residual variation may be related to biotic factors, such as competition and viral infection. This study provides new, in-depth knowledge on seasonal diversity and dynamics of haptophytes in North Atlantic coastal waters.
Project description:Viruses influence the ecology and diversity of phytoplankton in the ocean. Most studies of phytoplankton host-virus interactions have focused on bloom-forming species like Emiliania huxleyi or Phaeocystis spp. The role of viruses infecting phytoplankton that do not form conspicuous blooms have received less attention. Here we explore the dynamics of phytoplankton and algal viruses over several sequential seasons, with a focus on the ubiquitous and diverse phytoplankton division Haptophyta, and their double-stranded DNA viruses, potentially with the capacity to infect the haptophytes. Viral and phytoplankton abundance and diversity showed recurrent seasonal changes, mainly explained by hydrographic conditions. By 454 tag-sequencing we revealed 93 unique haptophyte operational taxonomic units (OTUs), with seasonal changes in abundance. Sixty-one unique viral OTUs, representing Megaviridae and Phycodnaviridae, showed only distant relationship with currently isolated algal viruses. Haptophyte and virus community composition and diversity varied substantially throughout the year, but in an uncoordinated manner. A minority of the viral OTUs were highly abundant at specific time-points, indicating a boom-bust relationship with their host. Most of the viral OTUs were very persistent, which may represent viruses that coexist with their hosts, or able to exploit several host species.
Project description:Viruses infecting the harmful bloom-causing alga Phaeocystis globosa (Prymnesiophyceae) were readily isolated from Dutch coastal waters (southern North Sea) in 2000 and 2001. Our data show a large increase in the abundance of putative P. globosa viruses during blooms of P. globosa, suggesting that viruses are an important source of mortality for this alga. In order to examine genetic relatedness among viruses infecting P. globosa and other phytoplankton, DNA polymerase gene (pol) fragments were amplified and the inferred amino acid sequences were phylogenetically analyzed. The results demonstrated that viruses infecting P. globosa formed a closely related monophyletic group within the family Phycodnaviridae, with at least 96.9% similarity to each other. The sequences grouped most closely with others from viruses that infect the prymnesiophyte algae Chrysochromulina brevifilum and Chrysochromulina strobilus. Whether the P. globosa viruses belong to the genus Prymnesiovirus or form a separate group needs further study. Our data suggest that, like their phytoplankton hosts, the Chrysochromulina and Phaeocystis viruses share a common ancestor and that these prymnesioviruses and their algal host have coevolved.
Project description:The functional diversity of eukaryotic viruses infecting a single host strain from seawater samples originating from distant marine locations is unknown. To estimate this diversity, we used lysis plaque assays to detect viruses that infect the widespread species Ostreococcus lucimarinus, which is found in coastal and mesotrophic systems, and O. tauri, which was isolated from coastal and lagoon sites from the northwest Mediterranean Sea. Detection of viral lytic activities against O. tauri was not observed using seawater from most sites, except those close to the area where the host strain was isolated. In contrast, the more cosmopolitan O. lucimarinus species recovered viruses from locations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Six new O. lucimarinus viruses (OlVs) then were characterized and their genomes sequenced. Two subgroups of OlVs were distinguished based on their genetic distances and on the inversion of a central 32-kb-long DNA fragment, but overall their genomes displayed a high level of synteny. The two groups did not correspond to proximity of isolation sites, and the phylogenetic distance between these subgroups was higher than the distances observed among viruses infecting O. tauri. Our study demonstrates that viruses originating from very distant sites are able to infect the same algal host strain and can be more diverse than those infecting different species of the same genus. Finally, distinctive features and evolutionary distances between these different viral subgroups does not appear to be linked to biogeography of the viral isolates.Marine eukaryotic phytoplankton virus diversity has yet to be addressed, and more specifically, it is unclear whether diversity is connected to geographical distance and whether differential infection and lysis patterns exist among such viruses that infect the same host strain. Here, we assessed the genetic distance of geographically segregated viruses that infect the ubiquitous green microalga Ostreococcus. This study provides the first glimpse into the diversity of predicted gene functions in Ostreococcus viruses originating from distant sites and provides new insights into potential host distributions and restrictions in the world oceans.
Project description:16S rRNA gene profiling has recently been boosted by the development of pyrosequencing methods. A common analysis is to group pyrosequences into Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs), such that reads in an OTU are likely sampled from the same species. However, species diversity estimated from error-prone 16S rRNA pyrosequences may be inflated because the reads sampled from the same 16S rRNA gene may appear different, and current OTU inference approaches typically involve time-consuming pairwise/multiple distance calculation and clustering. I propose a novel approach AbundantOTU based on a Consensus Alignment (CA) algorithm, which infers consensus sequences, each representing an OTU, taking advantage of the sequence redundancy for abundant species. Pyrosequencing reads can then be recruited to the consensus sequences to give quantitative information for the corresponding species. As tested on 16S rRNA pyrosequence datasets from mock communities with known species, AbundantOTU rapidly reported identified sequences of the source 16S rRNAs and the abundances of the corresponding species. AbundantOTU was also applied to 16S rRNA pyrosequence datasets derived from real microbial communities and the results are in general agreement with previous studies.
Project description:The marine ecosystem along the Western Antarctic Peninsula undergoes a dramatic seasonal transition every spring, from almost total darkness to almost continuous sunlight, resulting in a cascade of environmental changes, including phytoplankton blooms that support a highly productive food web. Despite having important implications for the movement of energy and materials through this ecosystem, little is known about how these changes impact bacterial succession in this region. Using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, we measured changes in free-living bacterial community composition and richness during a 9-month period that spanned winter to the end of summer. Chlorophyll a concentrations were relatively low until summer when a major phytoplankton bloom occurred, followed 3 weeks later by a high peak in bacterial production. Richness in bacterial communities varied between ~1,200 and 1,800 observed operational taxonomic units (OTUs) before the major phytoplankton bloom (out of ~43,000 sequences per sample). During peak bacterial production, OTU richness decreased to ~700 OTUs. The significant decrease in OTU richness only lasted a few weeks, after which time OTU richness increased again as bacterial production declined toward pre-bloom levels. OTU richness was negatively correlated with bacterial production and chlorophyll a concentrations. Unlike the temporal pattern in OTU richness, community composition changed from winter to spring, prior to onset of the summer phytoplankton bloom. Community composition continued to change during the phytoplankton bloom, with increased relative abundance of several taxa associated with phytoplankton blooms, particularly Polaribacter. Bacterial community composition began to revert toward pre-bloom conditions as bacterial production declined. Overall, our findings clearly demonstrate the temporal relationship between phytoplankton blooms and seasonal succession in bacterial growth and community composition. Our study highlights the importance of high-resolution time series sampling, especially during the relatively under-sampled Antarctic winter and spring, which enabled us to discover seasonal changes in bacterial community composition that preceded the summertime phytoplankton bloom.
Project description:Functional gene pyrosequencing is emerging as a useful tool to examine the diversity and abundance of microbes that facilitate key biogeochemical processes. One such process, denitrification, is of particular importance because it converts fixed nitrate (NO(-) 3) to N2 gas, which returns to the atmosphere. In nitrogen limited salt marshes, removal of NO(-) 3 prior to entering adjacent waters helps prevent eutrophication. Understanding the dynamics of salt marsh microbial denitrification is thus imperative for the maintenance of healthy coastal ecosystems. We used pyrosequencing of the nirS gene to examine the denitrifying community response to fertilization in experimentally enriched marsh plots. A key challenge in the analysis of sequence data derived from pyrosequencing is understanding whether small differences in gene sequences are ecologically meaningful. We applied a novel approach from information theory to determine that the optimal similarity level for clustering DNA sequences into OTUs, while still capturing the ecological complexity of the system, was 88%. With this clustering, phylogenetic analysis yielded 6 dominant clades of denitrifiers, the largest of which, accounting for more than half of all the sequences collected, had no close cultured representatives. Of the 638 OTUs identified, only 11 were present in all plots and no single OTU was dominant. We did, however, find a large number of specialist OTUs that were present only in a single plot. The high degree of endemic OTUs, while accounting for a large proportion of the nirS diversity in the plots, were found in lower abundance than the generalist taxa. The proportion of specialist taxa increased with increasing supply of nutrients, suggesting that addition of fertilizer may create conditions that expand the niche space for denitrifying organisms and may enhance the genetic capacity for denitrification.