Oceanographic structure drives the assembly processes of microbial eukaryotic communities.
ABSTRACT: Arctic Ocean microbial eukaryote phytoplankton form subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM), where much of the annual summer production occurs. This SCM is particularly persistent in the Western Arctic Ocean, which is strongly salinity stratified. The recent loss of multiyear sea ice and increased particulate-rich river discharge in the Arctic Ocean results in a greater volume of fresher water that may displace nutrient-rich saltier waters to deeper depths and decrease light penetration in areas affected by river discharge. Here, we surveyed microbial eukaryotic assemblages in the surface waters, and within and below the SCM. In most samples, we detected the pronounced SCM that usually occurs at the interface of the upper mixed layer and Pacific Summer Water (PSW). Poorly developed SCM was seen under two conditions, one above PSW and associated with a downwelling eddy, and the second in a region influenced by the Mackenzie River plume. Four phylogenetically distinct communities were identified: surface, pronounced SCM, weak SCM and a deeper community just below the SCM. Distance-decay relationships and phylogenetic structure suggested distinct ecological processes operating within these communities. In the pronounced SCM, picophytoplanktons were prevalent and community assembly was attributed to water mass history. In contrast, environmental filtering impacted the composition of the weak SCM communities, where heterotrophic Picozoa were more numerous. These results imply that displacement of Pacific waters to greater depth and increased terrigenous input may act as a control on SCM development and result in lower net summer primary production with a more heterotroph dominated eukaryotic microbial community.
Project description:The Eurasian basin of the Central Arctic Ocean is nitrogen limited, but little is known about the presence and role of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Recent studies have indicated the occurrence of diazotrophs in Arctic coastal waters potentially of riverine origin. Here, we investigated the presence of diazotrophs in ice and surface waters of the Central Arctic Ocean in the summer of 2012. We identified diverse communities of putative diazotrophs through targeted analysis of the nifH gene, which encodes the iron protein of the nitrogenase enzyme. We amplified 529 nifH sequences from 26 samples of Arctic melt ponds, sea ice and surface waters. These sequences resolved into 43 clusters at 92% amino acid sequence identity, most of which were non-cyanobacterial phylotypes from sea ice and water samples. One cyanobacterial phylotype related to Nodularia sp. was retrieved from sea ice, suggesting that this important functional group is rare in the Central Arctic Ocean. The diazotrophic community in sea-ice environments appear distinct from other cold-adapted diazotrophic communities, such as those present in the coastal Canadian Arctic, the Arctic tundra and glacial Antarctic lakes. Molecular fingerprinting of nifH and the intergenic spacer region of the rRNA operon revealed differences between the communities from river-influenced Laptev Sea waters and those from ice-related environments pointing toward a marine origin for sea-ice diazotrophs. Our results provide the first record of diazotrophs in the Central Arctic and suggest that microbial nitrogen fixation may occur north of 77°N. To assess the significance of nitrogen fixation for the nitrogen budget of the Arctic Ocean and to identify the active nitrogen fixers, further biogeochemical and molecular biological studies are needed.
Project description:Northern high-latitude rivers are major conduits of carbon from land to coastal seas and the Arctic Ocean. Arctic warming is promoting terrestrial permafrost thaw and shifting hydrologic flowpaths, leading to fluvial mobilization of ancient carbon stores. Here we describe (14)C and (13)C characteristics of dissolved organic carbon from fluvial networks across the Kolyma River Basin (Siberia), and isotopic changes during bioincubation experiments. Microbial communities utilized ancient carbon (11,300 to >50,000 (14)C years) in permafrost thaw waters and millennial-aged carbon (up to 10,000 (14)C years) across headwater streams. Microbial demand was supported by progressively younger ((14)C-enriched) carbon downstream through the network, with predominantly modern carbon pools subsidizing microorganisms in large rivers and main-stem waters. Permafrost acts as a significant and preferentially degradable source of bioavailable carbon in Arctic freshwaters, which is likely to increase as permafrost thaw intensifies causing positive climate feedbacks in response to on-going climate change.
Project description:The western Arctic Ocean is experiencing some of the most rapid environmental changes in the Arctic. However, little is known about the microbial community response to these changes. Employing observations from the summer of 2017, this study investigated latitudinal variations in bacterial community composition in surface waters between the Bering Strait and Chukchi Borderland and the factors driving the changes. Results indicate three distinctive communities. Southern Chukchi bacterial communities are associated with nutrient rich conditions, including genera such as Sulfitobacter, whereas the northern Chukchi bacterial community is dominated by SAR clades, Flavobacterium, Paraglaciecola, and Polaribacter genera associated with low nutrients and sea ice conditions. The frontal region, located on the boundary between the southern and northern Chukchi, is a transition zone with intermediate physical and biogeochemical properties; however, bacterial communities differed markedly from those found to the north and south. In the transition zone, Sphingomonas, with as yet undetermined ecological characteristics, are relatively abundant. Latitudinal distributions in bacterial community composition are mainly attributed to physical and biogeochemical characteristics, suggesting that these communities are susceptible to Arctic environmental changes. These findings provide a foundation to improve understanding of bacterial community variations in response to a rapidly changing Arctic Ocean.
Project description:The Antarctic and Arctic regions offer a unique opportunity to test factors shaping biogeography of marine microbial communities because these regions are geographically far apart, yet share similar selection pressures. Here, we report a comprehensive comparison of bacterioplankton diversity between polar oceans, using standardized methods for pyrosequencing the V6 region of the small subunit ribosomal (SSU) rRNA gene. Bacterial communities from lower latitude oceans were included, providing a global perspective. A clear difference between Southern and Arctic Ocean surface communities was evident, with 78% of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) unique to the Southern Ocean and 70% unique to the Arctic Ocean. Although polar ocean bacterial communities were more similar to each other than to lower latitude pelagic communities, analyses of depths, seasons, and coastal vs. open waters, the Southern and Arctic Ocean bacterioplankton communities consistently clustered separately from each other. Coastal surface Southern and Arctic Ocean communities were more dissimilar from their respective open ocean communities. In contrast, deep ocean communities differed less between poles and lower latitude deep waters and displayed different diversity patterns compared with the surface. In addition, estimated diversity (Chao1) for surface and deep communities did not correlate significantly with latitude or temperature. Our results suggest differences in environmental conditions at the poles and different selection mechanisms controlling surface and deep ocean community structure and diversity. Surface bacterioplankton may be subjected to more short-term, variable conditions, whereas deep communities appear to be structured by longer water-mass residence time and connectivity through ocean circulation.
Project description:The Arctic Ocean is considerably affected by the consequences of global warming, including more extreme seasonal fluctuations in the physical environment. So far, little is known about seasonality in Arctic marine ecosystems in particular microbial dynamics and cycling of organic matter. The limited characterization can be partially attributed to logistic difficulties of sampling in the Arctic Ocean beyond the summer season. Here, we investigated the distribution and composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM), gel particles and heterotrophic bacterial activity in the Fram Strait during summer and autumn. Our results revealed that phytoplankton biomass influenced the concentration and composition of semi-labile dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which strongly decreased from summer to autumn. The seasonal decrease in bioavailability of DOM appeared to be the dominant control on bacterial abundance and activity, while no temperature effect was determined. Additionally, there were clear differences in transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and Coomassie Blue stainable particles (CSP) dynamics. The amount of TEP and CSP decreased from summer to autumn, but CSP was relatively enriched in both seasons. Our study therewith indicates clear seasonal differences in the microbial cycling of organic matter in the Fram Strait. Our data may help to establish baseline knowledge about seasonal changes in microbial ecosystem dynamics to better assess the impact of environmental change in the warming Arctic Ocean. This article is part of the theme issue 'The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.
Project description:Subsurface chlorophyll maximum (SCM) layers are prevalent throughout the Arctic Ocean under stratified conditions and are observed both in the wake of retreating sea ice and in thermally stratified waters. The importance of these layers on the overall productivity of Arctic pelagic ecosystems has been a source of debate. In this study, we consider the three principal factors that govern productivity within SCMs: the shape of the chlorophyll profile, the photophysiological characteristics of phytoplankton and the availability of light in the layer. Using the information on the biological and optical parameters describing the vertical structure of chlorophyll, phytoplankton absorption and photosynthesis-irradiance response curves, a spectrally resolved model of primary production is used to identify the set of conditions under which SCMs are important contributors to water-column productivity. Sensitivity analysis revealed systematic errors in the estimation of primary production when the vertical distribution of chlorophyll was not taken into account, with estimates of water-column production using a non-uniform profile being up to 97% higher than those computed using a uniform one. The relative errors were shown to be functions of the parameters describing the shape of the biomass profile and the light available at the SCM to support photosynthesis. Given that SCM productivity is believed to be largely supported by new nutrients, it is likely that the relative contribution of SCMs to new production would be significantly higher than that to gross primary production. We discuss the biogeochemical and ecological implications of these findings and the potential role of new ocean sensors and autonomous underwater vehicles in furthering the study of SCMs in such highly heterogeneous and remote marine ecosystems. This article is part of the theme issue 'The changing Arctic Ocean: consequences for biological communities, biogeochemical processes and ecosystem functioning'.
Project description:Ocean acidification and warming are two main consequences of climate change that can directly affect biological and ecosystem processes in marine habitats. The Arctic Ocean is the region of the world experiencing climate change at the steepest rate compared with other latitudes. Since marine planktonic microorganisms play a key role in the biogeochemical cycles in the ocean it is crucial to simultaneously evaluate the effect of warming and increasing CO2 on marine microbial communities. In 20 L experimental microcosms filled with water from a high-Arctic fjord (Svalbard), we examined changes in phototrophic and heterotrophic microbial abundances and processes [bacterial production (BP) and mortality], and viral activity (lytic and lysogenic) in relation to warming and elevated CO2. The summer microbial plankton community living at 1.4°C in situ temperature, was exposed to increased CO2 concentrations (135-2,318 ?atm) in three controlled temperature treatments (1, 6, and 10°C) at the UNIS installations in Longyearbyen (Svalbard), in summer 2010. Results showed that chlorophyll a concentration decreased at increasing temperatures, while BP significantly increased with pCO2 at 6 and 10°C. Lytic viral production was not affected by changes in pCO2 and temperature, while lysogeny increased significantly at increasing levels of pCO2, especially at 10°C (R 2 = 0.858, p = 0.02). Moreover, protistan grazing rates showed a positive interaction between pCO2 and temperature. The averaged percentage of bacteria grazed per day was higher (19.56 ± 2.77% d-1) than the averaged percentage of lysed bacteria by virus (7.18 ± 1.50% d-1) for all treatments. Furthermore, the relationship among microbial abundances and processes showed that BP was significantly related to phototrophic pico/nanoflagellate abundance in the 1°C and the 6°C treatments, and BP triggered viral activity, mainly lysogeny at 6 and 10°C, while bacterial mortality rates was significantly related to bacterial abundances at 6°C. Consequently, our experimental results suggested that future increases in water temperature and pCO2 in Arctic waters will produce a decrease of phytoplankton biomass, enhancement of BP and changes in the carbon fluxes within the microbial food web. All these heterotrophic processes will contribute to weakening the CO2 sink capacity of the Arctic plankton community.
Project description:Spatial and temporal patterns in microbial biodiversity across the Amazon river-ocean continuum were investigated along ?675 km of the lower Amazon River mainstem, in the Tapajós River tributary, and in the plume and coastal ocean during low and high river discharge using amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes in whole water and size-fractionated samples (0.2-2.0 ?m and >2.0 ?m). River communities varied among tributaries, but mainstem communities were spatially homogeneous and tracked seasonal changes in river discharge and co-varying factors. Co-occurrence network analysis identified strongly interconnected river assemblages during high (May) and low (December) discharge periods, and weakly interconnected transitional assemblages in September, suggesting that this system supports two seasonal microbial communities linked to river discharge. In contrast, plume communities showed little seasonal differences and instead varied spatially tracking salinity. However, salinity explained only a small fraction of community variability, and plume communities in blooms of diatom-diazotroph assemblages were strikingly different than those in other high salinity plume samples. This suggests that while salinity physically structures plumes through buoyancy and mixing, the composition of plume-specific communities is controlled by other factors including nutrients, phytoplankton community composition, and dissolved organic matter chemistry. Co-occurrence networks identified interconnected assemblages associated with the highly productive low salinity near-shore region, diatom-diazotroph blooms, and the plume edge region, and weakly interconnected assemblages in high salinity regions. This suggests that the plume supports a transitional community influenced by immigration of ocean bacteria from the plume edge, and by species sorting as these communities adapt to local environmental conditions. Few studies have explored patterns of microbial diversity in tropical rivers and coastal oceans. Comparison of Amazon continuum microbial communities to those from temperate and arctic systems suggest that river discharge and salinity are master variables structuring a range of environmental conditions that control bacterial communities across the river-ocean continuum.
Project description:Microbial communities mediate the biogeochemical cycles that drive ecosystems, and it is important to understand how these communities are affected by changing environmental conditions, especially in complex coastal zones. As fresh and marine waters mix in estuaries and river plumes, the salinity, temperature, and nutrient gradients that are generated strongly influence bacterioplankton community structure, yet, a parallel change in functional diversity has not been described. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic analyses were conducted on five water samples spanning the salinity gradient of the Columbia River coastal margin, including river, estuary, plume, and ocean, in August 2010. Samples were pre-filtered through 3 ?m filters and collected on 0.2 ?m filters, thus results were focused on changes among free-living microbial communities. Results from metagenomic 16S rRNA sequences showed taxonomically distinct bacterial communities in river, estuary, and coastal ocean. Despite the strong salinity gradient observed over sampling locations (0 to 33), the functional gene profiles in the metagenomes were very similar from river to ocean with an average similarity of 82%. The metatranscriptomes, however, had an average similarity of 31%. Although differences were few among the metagenomes, we observed a change from river to ocean in the abundance of genes encoding for catabolic pathways, osmoregulators, and metal transporters. Additionally, genes specifying both bacterial oxygenic and anoxygenic photosynthesis were abundant and expressed in the estuary and plume. Denitrification genes were found throughout the Columbia River coastal margin, and most highly expressed in the estuary. Across a river to ocean gradient, the free-living microbial community followed three different patterns of diversity: 1) the taxonomy of the community changed strongly with salinity, 2) metabolic potential was highly similar across samples, with few differences in functional gene abundance from river to ocean, and 3) gene expression was highly variable and generally was independent of changes in salinity.
Project description:Rising temperatures in the Arctic Ocean region are responsible for changes such as reduced ice cover, permafrost thawing, and increased river discharge, which, together, alter nutrient and carbon cycles over the vast Arctic continental shelf. We show that the concentration of radium-228, sourced to seawater through sediment-water exchange processes, has increased substantially in surface waters of the central Arctic Ocean over the past decade. A mass balance model for 228Ra suggests that this increase is due to an intensification of shelf-derived material inputs to the central basin, a source that would also carry elevated concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients. Therefore, we suggest that significant changes in the nutrient, carbon, and trace metal balances of the Arctic Ocean are underway, with the potential to affect biological productivity and species assemblages in Arctic surface waters.