Nutrients and Other Environmental Factors Influence Virus Abundances across Oxic and Hypoxic Marine Environments.
ABSTRACT: Virus particles are highly abundant in seawater and, on average, outnumber microbial cells approximately 10-fold at the surface and 16-fold in deeper waters; yet, this relationship varies across environments. Here, we examine the influence of a suite of environmental variables, including nutrient concentrations, salinity and temperature, on the relationship between the abundances of viruses and prokaryotes over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales, including along a track from the Northwest Atlantic to the Northeast Pacific via the Arctic Ocean, and in the coastal waters of British Columbia, Canada. Models of varying complexity were tested and compared for best fit with the Akaike Information Criterion, and revealed that nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, as well as prokaryote abundances, either individually or combined, had significant effects on viral abundances in all but hypoxic environments, which were only explained by a combination of physical and chemical factors. Nonetheless, multivariate models of environmental variables showed high explanatory power, matching or surpassing that of prokaryote abundance alone. Incorporating both environmental variables and prokaryote abundances into multivariate models significantly improved the explanatory power of the models, except in hypoxic environments. These findings demonstrate that environmental factors could be as important as, or even more important than, prokaryote abundance in describing viral abundance across wide-ranging marine environments.
Project description:Though microbial processes in the oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) of the Arabian Sea (AS) are well documented, prokaryote-virus interactions are less known. The present study was carried out to determine the potential physico-chemical factors influencing viral abundances and their life strategies (lytic and lysogenic) along the vertical gradient in the OMZ of the AS (southwest coast of India). Water samples were collected during the southwest monsoon (SWM) season in two consecutive years (2015 and 2016) from different depths, namely, the surface layer, secondary chlorophyll a maxima (~30?40 m), oxycline (~70?80 m), and hypoxic/suboxic layers (~200?350 m). The high viral abundances observed in oxygenated surface waters (mean ± SD = 6.1 ± 3.4 × 10? viral-like particles (VLPs) mL-1), drastically decreased with depth in the oxycline region (1.2 ± 0.5 × 10? VLPs mL-1) and hypoxic/suboxic waters (0.3 ± 0.3 × 10? VLPs mL-1). Virus to prokaryote ratio fluctuated in the mixed layer (~10) and declined significantly (p < 0.001) to 1 in the hypoxic layer. Viral production (VP) and frequency of virus infected cells (FIC) were maximum in the surface and minimum in the oxycline layer, whereas the viral lysis was undetectable in the suboxic/hypoxic layer. The detection of a high percentage of lysogeny in suboxic (48%) and oxycline zones (9?24%), accompanied by undetectable rates of lytic viral infection support the hypothesis that lysogeny may represent the major survival strategy for viruses in unproductive or harsh nutrient/host conditions in deoxygenated waters.
Project description:Viruses play important roles in marine surface ecosystems, but little is known about viral ecology and virus-mediated processes in deep-sea hydrothermal microbial communities. In this study, we examined virus-like particle (VLP) abundances in planktonic and attached microbial communities, which occur in physical and chemical gradients in both deep and shallow submarine hydrothermal environments (mixing waters between hydrothermal fluids and ambient seawater and dense microbial communities attached to chimney surface areas or macrofaunal bodies and colonies). We found that viruses were widely distributed in a variety of hydrothermal microbial habitats, with the exception of the interior parts of hydrothermal chimney structures. The VLP abundance and VLP-to-prokaryote ratio (VPR) in the planktonic habitats increased as the ratio of hydrothermal fluid to mixing water increased. On the other hand, the VLP abundance in attached microbial communities was significantly and positively correlated with the whole prokaryotic abundance; however, the VPRs were always much lower than those for the surrounding hydrothermal waters. This is the first report to show VLP abundance in the attached microbial communities of submarine hydrothermal environments, which presented VPR values significantly lower than those in planktonic microbial communities reported before. These results suggested that viral lifestyles (e.g., lysogenic prevalence) and virus interactions with prokaryotes are significantly different among the planktonic and attached microbial communities that are developing in the submarine hydrothermal environments.
Project description:Sharp boundaries in the physical environment are usually associated with abrupt shifts in organism abundance, activity, and diversity. Aquatic surface microlayers (SML) form a steep gradient between two contrasted environments, the atmosphere and surface waters, where they regulate the gas exchange between both environments. They usually harbor an abundant and active microbial life: the neuston. Few ecosystems are subjected to such a high UVR regime as high altitude lakes during summer. Here, we measured bulk estimates of heterotrophic activity, community structure and single-cell physiological properties by flow cytometry in 19 high-altitude remote Pyrenean lakes and compared the biological processes in the SML with those in the underlying surface waters. Phototrophic picoplankton (PPP) populations, were generally present in high abundances and in those lakes containing PPP populations with phycoerythrin (PE), total PPP abundance was higher at the SML. Heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF) were also more abundant in the SML. Bacteria in the SML had lower leucine incorporation rates, lower percentages of "live" cells, and higher numbers of highly-respiring cells, likely resulting in a lower growth efficiency. No simple and direct linear relationships could be found between microbial abundances or activities and environmental variables, but factor analysis revealed that, despite their physical proximity, microbial life in SML and underlying waters was governed by different and independent processes. Overall, we demonstrate that piconeuston in high altitude lakes has specific features different from those of the picoplankton, and that they are highly affected by potential stressful environmental factors, such as high UVR radiation.
Project description:Viruses are an abundant, diverse and dynamic component of marine ecosystems and have a key role in the biogeochemical processes of the ocean by controlling prokaryotic and phytoplankton abundance and diversity. However, most of the studies on virus-prokaryote interactions in marine environments have been performed in nearshore waters. To assess potential variations in the relation between viruses and prokaryotes in different oceanographic provinces, we determined viral and prokaryotic abundance and production throughout the water column along a latitudinal transect in the North Atlantic. Depth-related trends in prokaryotic and viral abundance (both decreasing by one order of magnitude from epi- to abyssopelagic waters), and prokaryotic production (decreasing by three orders of magnitude) were observed along the latitudinal transect. The virus-to-prokaryote ratio (VPR) increased from ~19 in epipelagic to ~53 in the bathy- and abyssopelagic waters. Although the lytic viral production decreased significantly with depth, the lysogenic viral production did not vary with depth. In bathypelagic waters, pronounced differences in prokaryotic and viral abundance were found among different oceanic provinces with lower leucine incorporation rates and higher VPRs in the North Atlantic Gyre province than in the provinces further north and south. The percentage of lysogeny increased from subpolar regions toward the more oligotrophic lower latitudes. Based on the observed trends over this latitudinal transect, we conclude that the viral-host interactions significantly change among different oceanic provinces in response to changes in the biotic and abiotic variables.
Project description:Theoretical models predict lognormal species abundance distributions (SADs) in stable and productive environments, with log-series SADs in less stable, dispersal driven communities. We studied patterns of relative species abundances of perennial vascular plants in global dryland communities to: i) assess the influence of climatic and soil characteristics on the observed SADs, ii) infer how environmental variability influences relative abundances, and iii) evaluate how colonisation dynamics and environmental filters shape abundance distributions. We fitted lognormal and log-series SADs to 91 sites containing at least 15 species of perennial vascular plants. The dependence of species relative abundances on soil and climate variables was assessed using general linear models. Irrespective of habitat type and latitude, the majority of the SADs (70.3%) were best described by a lognormal distribution. Lognormal SADs were associated with low annual precipitation, higher aridity, high soil carbon content, and higher variability of climate variables and soil nitrate. Our results do not corroborate models predicting the prevalence of log-series SADs in dryland communities. As lognormal SADs were particularly associated with sites with drier conditions and a higher environmental variability, we reject models linking lognormality to environmental stability and high productivity conditions. Instead our results point to the prevalence of lognormal SADs in heterogeneous environments, allowing for more evenly distributed plant communities, or in stressful ecosystems, which are generally shaped by strong habitat filters and limited colonisation. This suggests that drylands may be resilient to environmental changes because the many species with intermediate relative abundances could take over ecosystem functioning if the environment becomes suboptimal for dominant species.
Project description:The dark ocean is one of the largest biomes on Earth, with critical roles in organic matter remineralization and global carbon sequestration. Despite its recognized importance, little is known about some key microbial players, such as the community of heterotrophic protists (HP), which are likely the main consumers of prokaryotic biomass. To investigate this microbial component at a global scale, we determined their abundance and biomass in deepwater column samples from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation using a combination of epifluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. HP were ubiquitously found at all depths investigated down to 4000?m. HP abundances decreased with depth, from an average of 72±19 cells?ml(-1) in mesopelagic waters down to 11±1 cells?ml(-1) in bathypelagic waters, whereas their total biomass decreased from 280±46 to 50±14?pg C?ml(-1). The parameters that better explained the variance of HP abundance were depth and prokaryote abundance, and to lesser extent oxygen concentration. The generally good correlation with prokaryotic abundance suggested active grazing of HP on prokaryotes. On a finer scale, the prokaryote:HP abundance ratio varied at a regional scale, and sites with the highest ratios exhibited a larger contribution of fungi molecular signal. Our study is a step forward towards determining the relationship between HP and their environment, unveiling their importance as players in the dark ocean's microbial food web.
Project description:Photosynthetic picoeukaryotes (PPE) are recognized as major primary producers and contributors to phytoplankton biomass in oceanic and coastal environments. Molecular surveys indicate a large phylogenetic diversity in the picoeukaryotes, with members of the Prymnesiophyceae and Chrysophyseae tending to be more common in open ocean waters and Prasinophyceae dominating coastal and Arctic waters. In addition to their role as primary producers, PPE have been identified in several studies as mixotrophic and major predators of prokaryotes. Mixotrophy, the combination of photosynthesis and phagotrophy in a single organism, is well established for most photosynthetic lineages. However, green algae, including prasinophytes, were widely considered as a purely photosynthetic group. The prasinophyte Micromonas is perhaps the most common picoeukaryote in coastal and Arctic waters and is one of the relatively few cultured representatives of the picoeukaryotes available for physiological investigations. In this study, we demonstrate phagotrophy by a strain of Micromonas (CCMP2099) isolated from Arctic waters and show that environmental factors (light and nutrient concentration) affect ingestion rates in this mixotroph. In addition, we show size-selective feeding with a preference for smaller particles, and determine P vs I (photosynthesis vs irradiance) responses in different nutrient conditions. If other strains have mixotrophic abilities similar to Micromonas CCMP2099, the widespread distribution and frequently high abundances of Micromonas suggest that these green algae may have significant impact on prokaryote populations in several oceanic regimes.
Project description:We sampled Thaumarchaeota populations in the northern Gulf of Mexico, including shelf waters under the Mississippi River outflow plume that are subject to recurrent hypoxia. Data from this study allowed us to: (1) test the hypothesis that Thaumarchaeota would be abundant in this region; (2) assess phylogenetic composition of these populations for comparison with other regions; (3) compare the efficacy of quantitative PCR (qPCR) based on primers for 16S rRNA genes (rrs) with primers for genes in the ammonia oxidation (amoA) and carbon fixation (accA, hcd) pathways; (4) compare distributions obtained by qPCR with the relative abundance of Thaumarchaeota rrs in pyrosequenced libraries; (5) compare Thaumarchaeota distributions with environmental variables to help us elucidate the factors responsible for the distributions; (6) compare the distribution of Thaumarchaeota with Nitrite-Oxidizing Bacteria (NOB) to gain insight into the coupling between ammonia and nitrite oxidation. We found up to 10(8)?copies?L(-1) of Thaumarchaeota rrs in our samples (up to 40% of prokaryotes) by qPCR, with maximum abundance in slope waters at 200-800?m. Thaumarchaeota rrs were also abundant in pyrosequenced libraries and their relative abundance correlated well with values determined by qPCR (r (2)?=?0.82). Thaumarchaeota populations were strongly stratified by depth. Canonical correspondence analysis using a suite of environmental variables explained 92% of the variance in qPCR-estimated gene abundances. Thaumarchaeota rrs abundance was correlated with salinity and depth, while accA abundance correlated with fluorescence and pH. Correlations of Archaeal amoA abundance with environmental variables were primer-dependent, suggesting differential responses of sub-populations to environmental variables. Bacterial amoA was at the limit of qPCR detection in most samples. NOB and Euryarchaeota rrs were found in the pyrosequenced libraries; NOB distribution was correlated with that of Thaumarchaeota (r (2)?=?0.49).
Project description:Eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUSs) are among the most productive marine environments in the world. The Canary Current upwelling system off the coast of Mauritania and Morocco is the second most productive of the four EBUS, where nutrient-rich waters fuel perennial phytoplankton blooms, evident by high chlorophyll a concentrations off Cape Blanc, Mauritania. High primary production leads to eutrophic waters in the surface layers, whereas sinking phytoplankton debris and horizontally dispersed particles form nepheloid layers (NLs) and hypoxic waters at depth. We used Catalyzed Reporter Deposition Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (CARD-FISH) in combination with fatty acid (measured as methyl ester; FAME) profiles to investigate the bacterial and archaeal community composition along transects from neritic to pelagic waters within the "giant Cape Blanc filament" in two consecutive years (2010 and 2011), and to evaluate the usage of FAME data for microbial community studies. We also report the first fatty acid profile of Pelagibacterales strain HTCC7211 which was used as a reference profile for the SAR11 clade. Unexpectedly, the reference profile contained low concentrations of long chain fatty acids 18:1 cis11, 18:1 cis11 11methyl, and 19:0 cyclo11-12 fatty acids, the main compounds in other Alphaproteobacteria. Members of the free-living SAR11 clade were found at increased relative abundance in the hypoxic waters in both years. In contrast, the depth profiles of Gammaproteobacteria (including Alteromonas and Pseudoalteromonas), Bacteroidetes, Roseobacter, and Synechococcus showed high abundances of these groups in layers where particle abundance was high, suggesting that particle attachment or association is an important mechanisms of dispersal for these groups. Collectively, our results highlight the influence of NLs, horizontal particle transport, and low oxygen on the structure and dispersal of microbial communities in upwelling systems.
Project description:Diverse microorganisms specifically inhabit extreme environments, such as hot springs and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. To test the hypothesis that the microbial community structure is predictable based on environmental factors characteristic of such extreme environments, we conducted correlation analyses of microbial taxa/functions and environmental factors using metagenomic and 61 types of physicochemical data of water samples from nine hot springs in the Kirishima area (Kyusyu, Japan), where hot springs with diverse chemical properties are distributed in a relatively narrow area. Our metagenomic analysis revealed that the samples can be classified into two major types dominated by either phylum Crenarchaeota or phylum Aquificae. The correlation analysis showed that Crenarchaeota dominated in nutrient-rich environments with high concentrations of ions and total carbons, whereas Aquificae dominated in nutrient-poor environments with low ion concentrations. These environmental factors were also important explanatory variables in the generalized linear models constructed to predict the abundances of Crenarchaeota or Aquificae. Functional enrichment analysis of genes also revealed that the separation of the two major types is primarily attributable to genes involved in autotrophic carbon fixation, sulfate metabolism and nitrate reduction. Our results suggested that Aquificae and Crenarchaeota play a vital role in the Kirishima hot spring water ecosystem through their metabolic pathways adapted to each environment. Our findings provide a basis to predict microbial community structures in hot springs from environmental parameters, and also provide clues for the exploration of biological resources in extreme environments.