Sulfide Intrusion and Detoxification in the Seagrass Zostera marina.
ABSTRACT: Gaseous sulfide intrusion into seagrasses growing in sulfidic sediments causes little or no harm to the plant, indicating the presence of an unknown sulfide tolerance or detoxification mechanism. We assessed such mechanism in the seagrass Zostera marina in the laboratory and in the field with scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, chromatographic and spectrophotometric methods, and stable isotope tracing coupled with a mass balance of sulfur compounds. We found that Z. marina detoxified gaseous sediment-derived sulfide through incorporation and that most of the detoxification occurred in underground tissues, where sulfide intrusion was greatest. Elemental sulfur was a major detoxification compound, precipitating on the inner wall of the aerenchyma of underground tissues. Sulfide was metabolized into thiols and entered the plant sulfur metabolism as well as being stored as sulfate throughout the plant. We conclude that avoidance of sulfide exposure by reoxidation of sulfide in the rhizosphere or aerenchyma and tolerance of sulfide intrusion by incorporation of sulfur in the plant are likely major survival strategies of seagrasses in sulfidic sediments.
Project description:Continued seagrass declines in ecosystems with improved water quality may be driven by sediment stressors. One of the most cited examples of a seagrass ecosystem with declines is Cockburn Sound, Western Australia, where 75% of seagrasses (2169?ha) were lost in the 1960s-1980s due to poor water quality. Water quality has subsequently improved in Cockburn Sound, yet shoot density declines continue in some areas. Here, we investigated if sediment stressors (sulfide intrusion and heavy metals) contributed to declining Posidonia sinuosa shoot densities in Cockburn Sound. Seagrass ?34S were depleted at sites with a history of seagrass declines, indicating seagrasses at these sites were under sulfide stress. Heavy metals (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cr, Cu and Cd) in sediments and seagrasses did not show clear patterns with shoot density or biomass, and largely decreased from similar measurements in the late 1970s. However, seagrass cadmium concentrations were negatively correlated to seagrass biomass and shoot density. High cadmium concentrations interfere with sulfur metabolism in terrestrial plants, but impacts on seagrasses remain to be explored. Given that sulfide intrusion can prevent recolonization and drive seagrass declines, management plans in degraded seagrass ecosystems should include management of sediment stressors and water quality to provide comprehensive management.
Project description:Seagrasses are marine flowering plants growing in soft-body sediments of intertidal and shallow sub-tidal zones. They play an important role in coastal ecosystems by stabilizing sediments, providing food and shelter for animals, and recycling nutrients. Like other plants, seagrasses live intimately with both beneficial and unfavorable microorganisms. Although much is known about the microbiomes of terrestrial plants, little is known about the microbiomes of seagrasses. Here we present the results of a detailed study on the rhizosphere microbiome of seagrass species across the North-eastern Atlantic Ocean: Zostera marina, Zostera noltii, and Cymodocea nodosa. High-resolution amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes showed that the rhizobiomes were significantly different from the bacterial communities of surrounding bulk sediment and seawater. Although we found no significant differences between the rhizobiomes of different seagrass species within the same region, those of seagrasses in different geographical locations differed strongly. These results strongly suggest that the seagrass rhizobiomes are shaped by plant metabolism, but not coevolved with their host. The core rhizobiome of seagrasses includes mostly bacteria involved in the sulfur cycle, thereby highlighting the importance of sulfur-related processes in seagrass ecosystems.
Project description:Members of the gammaproteobacterial clade SUP05 couple water column sulfide oxidation to nitrate reduction in sulfidic oxygen minimum zones (OMZs). Their abundance in offshore OMZ waters devoid of detectable sulfide has led to the suggestion that local sulfate reduction fuels SUP05-mediated sulfide oxidation in a so-called "cryptic sulfur cycle". We examined the distribution and metabolic capacity of SUP05 in Peru Upwelling waters, using a combination of oceanographic, molecular, biogeochemical and single-cell techniques. A single SUP05 species, U Thioglobus perditus, was found to be abundant and active in both sulfidic shelf and sulfide-free offshore OMZ waters. Our combined data indicated that mesoscale eddy-driven transport led to the dispersal of U T. perditus and elemental sulfur from the sulfidic shelf waters into the offshore OMZ region. This offshore transport of shelf waters provides an alternative explanation for the abundance and activity of sulfide-oxidizing denitrifying bacteria in sulfide-poor offshore OMZ waters.
Project description:Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a potent toxicant interfering with oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria and creating extreme environmental conditions in aquatic ecosystems. The mechanistic basis of adaptation to perpetual exposure to H2S remains poorly understood. We investigated evolutionarily independent lineages of livebearing fishes that have colonized and adapted to springs rich in H2S and compared their genome-wide gene expression patterns with closely related lineages from adjacent, nonsulfidic streams. Significant differences in gene expression were uncovered between all sulfidic and nonsulfidic population pairs. Variation in the number of differentially expressed genes among population pairs corresponded to differences in divergence times and rates of gene flow, which is consistent with neutral drift driving a substantial portion of gene expression variation among populations. Accordingly, there was little evidence for convergent evolution shaping large-scale gene expression patterns among independent sulfide spring populations. Nonetheless, we identified a small number of genes that was consistently differentially expressed in the same direction in all sulfidic and nonsulfidic population pairs. Functional annotation of shared differentially expressed genes indicated upregulation of genes associated with enzymatic H2S detoxification and transport of oxidized sulfur species, oxidative phosphorylation, energy metabolism, and pathways involved in responses to oxidative stress. Overall, our results suggest that modification of processes associated with H2S detoxification and toxicity likely complement each other to mediate elevated H2S tolerance in sulfide spring fishes. Our analyses allow for the development of novel hypotheses about biochemical and physiological mechanisms of adaptation to extreme environments.
Project description:Seagrasses are vital members of coastal systems, which provide several important ecosystem services such as improvement of water quality, shoreline protection, and serving as shelter, food, and nursery to many species, including economically important fish. They also act as a major carbon sink and supply copious amounts of oxygen to the ocean. A decline in seagrasses has been observed worldwide, partly due to climate change, direct and indirect human activities, diseases, and increased sulfide concentrations in the coastal porewaters. Several studies have shown a symbiotic relationship between seagrasses and their microbiome. For instance, the sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon cycles are important biochemical pathways that seem to be linked between the plant and its microbiome. The microbiome presumably also plays a key role in the health of the plant, for example in oxidizing phyto-toxic sulfide into non-toxic sulfate, or by providing protection for seagrasses from pathogens. Two of the most abundant seagrasses in Florida include Thalassia testudinum (turtle grass) and Syringodium filliforme (manatee grass), yet there is little data on the composition of the microbiome of these two genera. In this study, the microbial composition of the phyllosphere and rhizosphere of Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme were compared to water and sediment controls using amplicon sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. The microbial composition of the leaves, roots, seawater, and sediment differ from one another, but are similar between the two species of seagrasses.
Project description:The siboglinid tubeworm Sclerolinum contortum symbiosis inhabits sulfidic sediments at deep-sea hydrocarbon seeps in the Gulf of Mexico. A single symbiont phylotype in the symbiont-housing organ is inferred from phylogenetic analyses of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (16S rRNA) gene and fluorescent in situ hybridization. The phylotype we studied here, and a previous study from an arctic hydrocarbon seep population, reveal identical 16S rRNA symbiont gene sequences. While sulfide is apparently the energy source for the symbionts (and ultimately the gutless host), both partners also have to cope with its toxicity. This study demonstrates abundant large sulfur crystals restricted to the trophosome area. Based on Raman microspectroscopy and energy dispersive X-ray analysis, these crystals have the same S8 sulfur configuration as the recently described small sulfur vesicles formed in the symbionts. The crystals reside adjacent to the symbionts in the trophosome. This suggests that their formation is either extra- or intracellular in symbionts. We propose that formation of these crystals provides both energy-storage compounds for the symbionts and serves the symbiosis by removing excess toxic sulfide from host tissues. This symbiont-mediated sulfide detoxification may have been crucial for the establishment of thiotrophic symbiosis and continues to remain an important function of the symbionts.
Project description:Seagrasses can form mutualisms with their microbiomes that facilitate the exchange of energy sources, nutrients, and hormones and ultimately impact plant stress resistance. Little is known about community succession within the belowground seagrass microbiome after disturbance and its potential role in the plant's recovery after transplantation. We transplanted <i>Zostera marina</i> shoots with and without an intact rhizosphere and cultivated plants for 4 weeks while characterizing microbiome recovery and effects on plant traits. Rhizosphere and root microbiomes were compositionally distinct, likely representing discrete microbial niches. Furthermore, microbiomes of washed transplants were initially different from those of sod transplants and recovered to resemble an undisturbed state within 14 days. Conspicuously, changes in the microbial communities of washed transplants corresponded with changes in the rhizosphere sediment mass and root biomass, highlighting the strength and responsive nature of the relationship between plants, their microbiome, and the environment. Potential mutualistic microbes that were enriched over time include those that function in the cycling and turnover of sulfur, nitrogen, and plant-derived carbon in the rhizosphere environment. These findings highlight the importance and resilience of the seagrass microbiome after disturbance. Consideration of the microbiome will have meaningful implications for habitat restoration practices.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Seagrasses are important coastal species that are declining globally, and transplantation can be used to combat these declines. However, the bacterial communities associated with seagrass rhizospheres and roots (the microbiome) are often disturbed or removed completely prior to transplantation. The seagrass microbiome benefits seagrasses through metabolite, nutrient, and phytohormone exchange and contributes to the ecosystem services of seagrass meadows by cycling sulfur, nitrogen, and carbon. This experiment aimed to characterize the importance and resilience of the seagrass belowground microbiome by transplanting <i>Zostera marina</i> with and without intact rhizospheres and tracking microbiome and plant morphological recovery over 4 weeks. We found the seagrass microbiome to be resilient to transplantation disturbance, recovering after 14 days. Additionally, microbiome recovery was linked with seagrass morphology, coinciding with increases in the rhizosphere sediment mass and root biomass. The results of this study can be used to include microbiome responses in informing future restoration work.
Project description:Wood debris on the ocean floor harbor flourishing communities, which include invertebrate taxa thriving in sulfide-rich habitats belonging to hydrothermal vent and methane seep deep-sea lineages. The formation of sulfidic niches from digested wood material produced by woodborers has been known for a long time, but the temporal dynamics and sulfide ranges encountered on wood falls remains unknown. Here, we show that wood falls are converted into sulfidic hotpots, before the colonization by xylophagaid bivalves. Less than a month after immersion at a depth of 520?m in oxygenated seawater the sulfide concentration increased to millimolar levels inside immersed logs. From in situ experiments combining high-frequency chemical and video monitoring, we document the rapid development of a microbial sulfur biofilm at the surface of wood. These findings highlight the fact that sulfide is initially produced from the labile components of wood and supports chemosynthesis as an early pathway of energy transfer to deep-sea wood colonists, as suggested by recent aquarium studies. The study furthermore reveals that woodborers promote sulfide-oxidation at the periphery of their burrows, thus, not only facilitating the development of sulfidic zones in the surrounding of degraded wood falls, but also governing sulfur-cycling within the wood matrix.
Project description:Acid-sulfide hot springs are analogs of early Earth geothermal systems where microbial metal(loid) resistance likely first evolved. Arsenic is a metalloid enriched in the acid-sulfide hot spring Champagne Pool (Waiotapu, New Zealand). Arsenic speciation in Champagne Pool follows reaction paths not yet fully understood with respect to biotic contributions and coupling to biogeochemical sulfur cycling. Here we present quantitative arsenic speciation from Champagne Pool, finding arsenite dominant in the pool, rim and outflow channel (55-75% total arsenic), and dithio- and trithioarsenates ubiquitously present as 18-25% total arsenic. In the outflow channel, dimethylmonothioarsenate comprised ?9% total arsenic, while on the outflow terrace thioarsenates were present at 55% total arsenic. We also quantified sulfide, thiosulfate, sulfate and elemental sulfur, finding sulfide and sulfate as major species in the pool and outflow terrace, respectively. Elemental sulfur concentration reached a maximum at the terrace. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA genes from metagenomic sequencing revealed the dominance of Sulfurihydrogenibium at all sites and an increased archaeal population at the rim and outflow channel. Several phylotypes were found closely related to known sulfur- and sulfide-oxidizers, as well as sulfur- and sulfate-reducers. Bioinformatic analysis revealed genes underpinning sulfur redox transformations, consistent with sulfur speciation data, and illustrating a microbial role in sulfur-dependent transformation of arsenite to thioarsenate. Metagenomic analysis also revealed genes encoding for arsenate reductase at all sites, reflecting the ubiquity of thioarsenate and a need for microbial arsenate resistance despite anoxic conditions. Absence of the arsenite oxidase gene, aio, at all sites suggests prioritization of arsenite detoxification over coupling to energy conservation. Finally, detection of methyl arsenic in the outflow channel, in conjunction with increased sequences from Aquificaceae, supports a role for methyltransferase in thermophilic arsenic resistance. Our study highlights microbial contributions to coupled arsenic and sulfur cycling at Champagne Pool, with implications for understanding the evolution of microbial arsenic resistance in sulfidic geothermal systems.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4><i>Zostera marina</i> (also known as eelgrass) is a foundation species in coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide and is a model for studies of seagrasses (a paraphyletic group in the order <i>Alismatales</i>) that include all the known fully submerged marine angiosperms. In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of the potential importance of the microbial communities (i.e., microbiomes) associated with various plant species. Here we report a study of variation in <i>Z. marina</i> microbiomes from a field site in Bodega Bay, CA.<h4>Methods</h4>We characterized and then compared the microbial communities of root, leaf and sediment samples (using 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR and sequencing) and associated environmental parameters from the inside, edge and outside of a single subtidal <i>Z. marina</i> patch. Multiple comparative approaches were used to examine associations between microbiome features (e.g., diversity, taxonomic composition) and environmental parameters and to compare sample types and sites.<h4>Results</h4>Microbial communities differed significantly between sample types (root, leaf and sediment) and in sediments from different sites (inside, edge, outside). Carbon:Nitrogen ratio and eelgrass density were both significantly correlated to sediment community composition. Enrichment of certain taxonomic groups in each sample type was detected and analyzed in regard to possible functional implications (especially regarding sulfur metabolism).<h4>Discussion</h4>Our results are mostly consistent with prior work on seagrass associated microbiomes with a few differences and additional findings. From a functional point of view, the most significant finding is that many of the taxa that differ significantly between sample types and sites are closely related to ones commonly associated with various aspects of sulfur and nitrogen metabolism. Though not a traditional model organism, we believe that <i>Z. marina</i> can become a model for studies of marine plant-microbiome interactions.