Diversity and oceanic distribution of prasinophytes clade VII, the dominant group of green algae in oceanic waters.
ABSTRACT: Prasinophytes clade VII is a group of pico/nano-planktonic green algae (division Chlorophyta) for which numerous ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences have been retrieved from the marine environment in the last 15 years. A large number of strains have also been isolated but have not yet received a formal taxonomic description. A phylogenetic analysis of available strains using both the nuclear 18S and plastidial 16S rRNA genes demonstrates that this group composes at least 10 different clades: A1-A7 and B1-B3. Analysis of sequences from the variable V9 region of the 18S rRNA gene collected during the Tara Oceans expedition and in the frame of the Ocean Sampling Day consortium reveal that clade VII is the dominant Chlorophyta group in oceanic waters, replacing Mamiellophyceae, which have this role in coastal waters. At some location, prasinophytes clade VII can even be the dominant photosynthetic eukaryote representing up to 80% of photosynthetic metabarcodes overall. B1 and A4 are the overall dominant clades and different clades seem to occupy distinct niches, for example, A6 is dominant in surface Mediterranean Sea waters, whereas A4 extend to high temperate latitudes. Our work demonstrates that prasinophytes clade VII constitute a highly diversified group, which is a key component of phytoplankton in open oceanic waters but has been neglected in the conceptualization of marine microbial diversity and carbon cycle.
Project description:The ecology and distribution of green phytoplankton (Chlorophyta) in the ocean is poorly known because most studies have focused on groups with large cell size such as diatoms or dinoflagellates that are easily recognized by traditional techniques such as microscopy. The Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) project sampled surface waters quasi-simultaneously at 141 marine locations, mostly in coastal waters. The analysis of the 18S V4 region OSD metabarcoding dataset reveals that Chlorophyta are ubiquitous and can be locally dominant in coastal waters. Chlorophyta represented 29% of the global photosynthetic reads (Dinoflagellates excluded) and their contribution was especially high at oligotrophic stations (up to 94%) and along the European Atlantic coast. Mamiellophyceae dominated most coastal stations. At some coastal stations, they were replaced by Chlorodendrophyceae, Ulvophyceae, Trebouxiophyceae or Chlorophyceae as the dominating group, while oligotrophic stations were dominated either by Chloropicophyceae or the uncultured prasinophytes clade IX. Several Chlorophyta classes showed preferences in terms of nitrate concentration, distance to the coast, temperature and salinity. For example, Chlorophyceae preferred cold and low salinity coastal waters, and prasinophytes clade IX warm, high salinity, oligotrophic oceanic waters.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Because they represent the earliest divergences of the Chlorophyta, the morphologically diverse unicellular green algae making up the prasinophytes hold the key to understanding the nature of the first viridiplants and the evolutionary patterns that accompanied the radiation of chlorophytes. Nuclear-encoded 18S rDNA phylogenies unveiled nine prasinophyte clades (clades I through IX) but their branching order is still uncertain. We present here the newly sequenced chloroplast genomes of Nephroselmis astigmatica (clade III) and of five picoplanktonic species from clade VI (Prasinococcus sp. CCMP 1194, Prasinophyceae sp. MBIC 106222 and Prasinoderma coloniale) and clade VII (Picocystis salinarum and Prasinophyceae sp. CCMP 1205). These chloroplast DNAs (cpDNAs) were compared with those of the six previously sampled prasinophytes (clades I, II, III and V) in order to gain information both on the relationships among prasinophyte lineages and on chloroplast genome evolution. RESULTS:Varying from 64.3 to 85.6 kb in size and encoding 100 to 115 conserved genes, the cpDNAs of the newly investigated picoplanktonic species are substantially smaller than those observed for larger-size prasinophytes, are economically packed and contain a reduced gene content. Although the Nephroselmis and Picocystis cpDNAs feature a large inverted repeat encoding the rRNA operon, gene partitioning among the single copy regions is remarkably different. Unexpectedly, we found that all three species from clade VI (Prasinococcales) harbor chloroplast genes not previously documented for chlorophytes (ndhJ, rbcR, rpl21, rps15, rps16 and ycf66) and that Picocystis contains a trans-spliced group II intron. The phylogenies inferred from cpDNA-encoded proteins are essentially congruent with 18S rDNA trees, resolving with robust support all six examined prasinophyte lineages, with the exception of the Pycnococcaceae. CONCLUSIONS:Our results underscore the high variability in genome architecture among prasinophyte lineages, highlighting the strong pressure to maintain a small and compact chloroplast genome in picoplanktonic species. The unique set of six chloroplast genes found in the Prasinococcales supports the ancestral status of this lineage within the prasinophytes. The widely diverging traits uncovered for the clade-VII members (Picocystis and Prasinophyceae sp. CCMP 1205) are consistent with their resolution as separate lineages in the chloroplast phylogeny.
Project description:Prasinophytes are a paraphyletic group of nine lineages of green microalgae that are currently classified either at the class or order level or as clades without formal taxonomic description. Prasinophyte clade VII comprises picoplanktonic algae that are important components of marine phytoplankton communities, particularly in moderately oligotrophic waters. Despite first being cultured in the 1960s, this clade has yet to be formally described. Previous phylogenetic analyses using the 18S rRNA gene divided prasinophyte clade VII into three lineages, termed A, B and C, the latter formed by a single species, Picocystis salinarum, that to date has only been found in saline lakes. Strains from lineages A and B cannot be distinguished by light microscopy and have very similar photosynthetic pigment profiles corresponding to the prasino-2A pigment group. We obtained phenotypic and genetic data on a large set of prasinophyte clade VII culture strains that allowed us to clarify the taxonomy of this important marine group. We describe two novel classes, the Picocystophyceae and the Chloropicophyceae, the latter containing two novel genera, Chloropicon and Chloroparvula, and eight new species of marine picoplanktonic green algae.
Project description:Marine picocyanobacteria, comprised of the genera Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus, are the most abundant and widespread primary producers in the ocean. More than 20 genetically distinct clades of marine Synechococcus have been identified, but their physiology and biogeography are not as thoroughly characterized as those of Prochlorococcus. Using clade-specific qPCR primers, we measured the abundance of 10 Synechococcus clades at 92 locations in surface waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We found that Synechococcus partition the ocean into four distinct regimes distinguished by temperature, macronutrients and iron availability. Clades I and IV were prevalent in colder, mesotrophic waters; clades II, III and X dominated in the warm, oligotrophic open ocean; clades CRD1 and CRD2 were restricted to sites with low iron availability; and clades XV and XVI were only found in transitional waters at the edges of the other biomes. Overall, clade II was the most ubiquitous clade investigated and was the dominant clade in the largest biome, the oligotrophic open ocean. Co-occurring clades that occupy the same regime belong to distinct evolutionary lineages within Synechococcus, indicating that multiple ecotypes have evolved independently to occupy similar niches and represent examples of parallel evolution. We speculate that parallel evolution of ecotypes may be a common feature of diverse marine microbial communities that contributes to functional redundancy and the potential for resiliency.
Project description:Mamiellophyceae (unicellular green algae) are a key phytoplankton group in coastal waters. Although extensively studied over the last 20 years, the overall oceanic distribution of the major species/clades is still poorly known. To address this problem, we analyzed the 2014 Ocean Sampling Day (OSD) metabarcoding dataset providing sequences from the V4 hypervariable region of the 18S rRNA gene for 157 samples collected at 143 mostly coastal stations. Mamiellophyceae were found at nearly all OSD stations and represented 55% of the green microalgae (Chlorophyta) reads. We performed phylogenetic analyses of unique OSD metabarcodes (amplicon single variants, ASVs) and GenBank reference sequences from cultures and from the environment, focusing on the four most represented genera: Ostreococcus (45% of the Mamiellophyceae reads), Micromonas (34%), Bathycoccus (10%) and Mantoniella (8.7%). These analyses uncovered novel diversity within each genus except Bathycoccus. In Ostreococcus, a new clade (E) was the second most represented clade after Ostreococcus "lucimarinus". Micromonas could be separated into nine clades, exceeding the six species and candidate species already described. Finally, we found two new environmental clades within Mantoniella. Each Mamiellophyceae clade had a specific distribution in the OSD dataset suggesting that they are adapted to different ecological niches.
Project description:Year-round reports of phytoplankton dynamics in the West Antarctic Peninsula are rare and mainly limited to microscopy and/or pigment-based studies. We analyzed the phytoplankton community from coastal waters of Fildes Bay in the West Antarctic Peninsula between January 2014 and 2015 using metabarcoding of the nuclear and plastidial 18/16S rRNA gene from both size-fractionated and flow cytometry sorted samples. Overall 14 classes of photosynthetic eukaryotes were present in our samples with the following dominating: Bacillariophyta (diatoms), Pelagophyceae and Dictyochophyceae for division Ochrophyta, Mamiellophyceae and Pyramimonadophyceae for division Chlorophyta, Haptophyta and Cryptophyta. Each metabarcoding approach yielded a different image of the phytoplankton community with for example Prymnesiophyceae more prevalent in plastidial metabarcodes and Mamiellophyceae in nuclear ones. Diatoms were dominant in the larger size fractions and during summer, while Prymnesiophyceae and Cryptophyceae were dominant in colder seasons. Pelagophyceae were particularly abundant towards the end of autumn (May). In addition of Micromonas polaris and Micromonas sp. clade B3, both previously reported in Arctic waters, we detected a new Micromonas 18S rRNA sequence signature, close to, but clearly distinct from M. polaris, which potentially represents a new clade specific of the Antarctic. These results highlight the need for complementary strategies as well as the importance of year-round monitoring for a comprehensive description of phytoplankton communities in Antarctic coastal waters.
Project description:Symbioses between eukaryotic algae and nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria have been recognized in recent years as a key source of new nitrogen in the oceans. We investigated the composition of the small photosynthetic eukaryote communities associated with nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria in the Brazilian South Atlantic Bight using a combination of flow cytometry sorting and high throughput sequencing of two genes: the V4 region of 18S rRNA and nifH. Two distinct eukaryotic communities were often encountered, one dominated by the Mamiellophyceae Bathycoccus and Ostreococcus, and one dominated by a prymnesiophyte known to live in symbiosis with the UCYN-A1 nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium. Among nifH sequences, those from UCYN-A1 were most abundant but three other UCYN-A clades (A2, A3, A4) were also found. Network analysis confirmed the relation between A1 and A2 clades and their hypothesized hosts and pointed out to the potential association between novel clade A4 with Braarudosphaera bigelowii, previously hypothesized to host A2.
Project description:Synechococcus are ubiquitous and cosmopolitan cyanobacteria that play important roles in global productivity and biogeochemical cycles. This study investigated the fine scale microdiversity, seasonal patterns, and spatial distributions of Synechococcus in estuarine waters of Little Sippewissett salt marsh (LSM) on Cape Cod, MA. The proportion of Synechococcus reads was higher in the summer than winter, and higher in coastal waters than within the estuary. Variations in the V4-V6 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene revealed 12 unique Synechococcus oligotypes. Two distinct communities emerged in early and late summer, each comprising a different set of statistically co-occurring Synechococcus oligotypes from different clades. The early summer community included clades I and IV, which correlated with lower temperature and higher dissolved oxygen levels. The late summer community included clades CB5, I, IV, and VI, which correlated with higher temperatures and higher salinity levels. Four rare oligotypes occurred in the late summer community, and their relative abundances more strongly correlated with high salinity than did other co-occurring oligotypes. The analysis revealed that multiple, closely related oligotypes comprised certain abundant clades (e.g., clade 1 in the early summer and clade CB5 in the late summer), but the correlations between these oligotypes varied from pair to pair, suggesting they had slightly different niches despite being closely related at the clade level. Lack of tidal water exchange between sampling stations gave rise to a unique oligotype not abundant at other locations in the estuary, suggesting physical isolation plays a role in generating additional microdiversity within the community. Together, these results contribute to our understanding of the environmental and ecological factors that influence patterns of Synechococcus microbial community composition over space and time in salt marsh estuarine waters.
Project description:Operational taxonomic units 94%-95% similar to the known Pedinophyceae were found as a result of high-through sequencing of 18S rDNA V4 amplicons of environmental DNA from the summer picophytoplankton samples from the White Sea. Partial sequence of a ribosomal operon (the 5,298 bp includes partial 18S and 28S rDNA, complete 5.8S rDNA, ITS1, and ITS2 sequences) and a partial 2,112 bp chloroplast 23S rDNA sequence White Sea Pedinophyceae was amplified from metagenomic DNA by specific primers and sequenced. A new phylotype was designated as uncultured Pedinophyceae WS. On Chlorophyta phylogenetic trees the discovered phylotype occupies a basal position in the Marsupiomonadales clade. The synapomorphic base substitutions in rRNA hairpins confirm the relationship of Pedinophyceae WS to Marsupiomonadales and its difference from known genera of the order. The obtained results extend knowledge of picophytoplankton diversity in subarctic waters.
Project description:The green plants (Viridiplantae) are an ancient group of eukaryotes comprising two main clades: the Chlorophyta, which includes a wide diversity of green algae, and the Streptophyta, which consists of freshwater green algae and the land plants. The early-diverging lineages of the Viridiplantae comprise unicellular algae, and multicellularity has evolved independently in the two clades. Recent molecular data have revealed an unrecognized early-diverging lineage of green plants, the Palmophyllales, with a unique form of multicellularity, and typically found in deep water. The phylogenetic position of this enigmatic group, however, remained uncertain. Here we elucidate the evolutionary affinity of the Palmophyllales using chloroplast genomic, and nuclear rDNA data. Phylogenetic analyses firmly place the palmophyllalean Verdigellas peltata along with species of Prasinococcales (prasinophyte clade VI) in the deepest-branching clade of the Chlorophyta. The small, compact and intronless chloroplast genome (cpDNA) of V. peltata shows striking similarities in gene content and organization with the cpDNAs of Prasinococcales and the streptophyte Mesostigma viride, indicating that cpDNA architecture has been extremely well conserved in these deep-branching lineages of green plants. The phylogenetic distinctness of the Palmophyllales-Prasinococcales clade, characterized by unique ultrastructural features, warrants recognition of a new class of green plants, Palmophyllophyceae class. nov.