Haptophyte Diversity and Vertical Distribution Explored by 18S and 28S Ribosomal RNA Gene Metabarcoding and Scanning Electron Microscopy.
ABSTRACT: Haptophyta encompasses more than 300 species of mostly marine pico- and nanoplanktonic flagellates. Our aims were to investigate the Oslofjorden haptophyte diversity and vertical distribution by metabarcoding, and to improve the approach to study haptophyte community composition, richness and proportional abundance by comparing two rRNA markers and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Samples were collected in August 2013 at the Outer Oslofjorden, Norway. Total RNA/cDNA was amplified by haptophyte-specific primers targeting the V4 region of the 18S, and the D1-D2 region of the 28S rRNA. Taxonomy was assigned using curated haptophyte reference databases and phylogenetic analyses. Both marker genes showed Chrysochromulinaceae and Prymnesiaceae to be the families with highest number of Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs), as well as proportional abundance. The 18S rRNA data set also contained OTUs assigned to eight supported and defined clades consisting of environmental sequences only, possibly representing novel lineages from family to class. We also recorded new species for the area. Comparing coccolithophores by SEM with metabarcoding shows a good correspondence with the 18S rRNA gene proportional abundances. Our results contribute to link morphological and molecular data and 28S to 18S rRNA gene sequences of haptophytes without cultured representatives, and to improve metabarcoding methodology.
Project description:Microalgae in the division Haptophyta may be difficult to identify to species by microscopy because they are small and fragile. Here, we used high-throughput sequencing to explore the diversity of haptophytes in outer Oslofjorden, Skagerrak, and supplemented this with electron microscopy. Nano- and picoplanktonic subsurface samples were collected monthly for 2 yr, and the haptophytes were targeted by amplification of RNA/cDNA with Haptophyta-specific 18S ribosomal DNA V4 primers. Pyrosequencing revealed higher species richness of haptophytes than previously observed in the Skagerrak by microscopy. From ca. 400,000 reads we obtained 156 haptophyte operational taxonomic units (OTUs) after rigorous filtering and 99.5% clustering. The majority (84%) of the OTUs matched environmental sequences not linked to a morphological species, most of which were affiliated with the order Prymnesiales. Phylogenetic analyses including Oslofjorden OTUs and available cultured and environmental haptophyte sequences showed that several of the OTUs matched sequences forming deep-branching lineages, potentially representing novel haptophyte classes. Pyrosequencing also retrieved cultured species not previously reported by microscopy in the Skagerrak. Electron microscopy revealed species not yet genetically characterised and some potentially novel taxa. This study contributes to linking genotype to phenotype within this ubiquitous and ecologically important protist group, and reveals great, unknown diversity.
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:Biomonitoring approaches and investigations of many ecological questions require assessments of the biodiversity of a given habitat. Small organisms, ranging from protozoans to metazoans, are of great ecological importance and comprise a major share of the planet's biodiversity but they are extremely difficult to identify, due to their minute body sizes and indistinct structures. Thus, most biodiversity studies that include small organisms draw on several methods for species delimitation, ranging from traditional microscopy to molecular techniques. In this study, we compared the efficiency of these methods by analyzing a community of nematodes. Specifically, we evaluated the performances of traditional morphological identification, single-specimen barcoding (Sanger sequencing), and metabarcoding in the identification of 1500 nematodes from sediment samples. The molecular approaches were based on the analysis of the 28S ribosomal large and 18S small subunits (LSU and SSU). The morphological analysis resulted in the determination of 22 nematode species. Barcoding identified a comparable number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) based on 28S rDNA (n = 20) and fewer OTUs based on 18S rDNA (n = 12). Metabarcoding identified a higher OTU number but fewer amplicon sequence variants (AVSs) (n = 48 OTUs, n = 17 ASVs for 28S rDNA, and n = 31 OTUs, n = 6 ASVs for 18S rDNA). Between the three approaches (morphology, barcoding, and metabarcoding), only three species (13.6%) were shared. This lack of taxonomic resolution hinders reliable community identifications to the species level. Further database curation will ensure the effective use of molecular species identification.
Project description:Next generation sequencing of ribosomal DNA is increasingly used to assess the diversity and structure of microbial communities. Here we test the ability of 454 pyrosequencing to detect the number of species present, and assess the relative abundance in terms of cell numbers and biomass of protists in the phylum Haptophyta. We used a mock community consisting of equal number of cells of 11 haptophyte species and compared targeting DNA and RNA/cDNA, and two different V4 SSU rDNA haptophyte-biased primer pairs. Further, we tested four different bioinformatic filtering methods to reduce errors in the resulting sequence dataset. With sequencing depth of 11000-20000 reads and targeting cDNA with Haptophyta specific primers Hap454 we detected all 11 species. A rarefaction analysis of expected number of species recovered as a function of sampling depth suggested that minimum 1400 reads were required here to recover all species in the mock community. Relative read abundance did not correlate to relative cell numbers. Although the species represented with the largest biomass was also proportionally most abundant among the reads, there was generally a weak correlation between proportional read abundance and proportional biomass of the different species, both with DNA and cDNA as template. The 454 sequencing generated considerable spurious diversity, and more with cDNA than DNA as template. With initial filtering based only on match with barcode and primer we observed 100-fold more operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at 99% similarity than the number of species present in the mock community. Filtering based on quality scores, or denoising with PyroNoise resulted in ten times more OTU99% than the number of species. Denoising with AmpliconNoise reduced the number of OTU99% to match the number of species present in the mock community. Based on our analyses, we propose a strategy to more accurately depict haptophyte diversity using 454 pyrosequencing.
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:Although inland water bodies are more heterogeneous and sensitive to environmental variation than oceans, the diversity of small protists in these ecosystems is much less well known. Some molecular surveys of lakes exist, but little information is available from smaller, shallower and often ephemeral freshwater systems, despite their global distribution and ecological importance. We carried out a comparative study based on massive pyrosequencing of amplified 18S rRNA gene fragments of protists in the 0.2-5 ?m size range in one brook and four shallow ponds located in the Natural Regional Park of the Chevreuse Valley, France. Our study revealed a wide diversity of small protists, with 812 stringently defined operational taxonomic units (OTUs) belonging to the recognized eukaryotic supergroups (SAR--Stramenopiles, Alveolata, Rhizaria--Archaeplastida, Excavata, Amoebozoa, Opisthokonta) and to groups of unresolved phylogenetic position (Cryptophyta, Haptophyta, Centrohelida, Katablepharida, Telonemida, Apusozoa). Some OTUs represented deep-branching lineages (Cryptomycota, Aphelida, Colpodellida, Tremulida, clade-10 Cercozoa, HAP-1 Haptophyta). We identified several lineages previously thought to be marine including, in addition to MAST-2 and MAST-12, already detected in freshwater, MAST-3 and possibly MAST-6. Protist community structures were different in the five ecosystems. These differences did not correlate with geographical distances, but seemed to be influenced by environmental parameters.
Project description:Metabarcoding is a powerful tool for exploring microbial diversity in the environment, but its accurate interpretation is impeded by diverse technical (e.g. PCR and sequencing errors) and biological biases (e.g. intra-individual polymorphism) that remain poorly understood. To help interpret environmental metabarcoding datasets, we investigated the intracellular diversity of the V4 and V9 regions of the 18S rRNA gene from Acantharia and Nassellaria (radiolarians) using 454 pyrosequencing. Individual cells of radiolarians were isolated, and PCRs were performed with generalist primers to amplify the V4 and V9 regions. Different denoising procedures were employed to filter the pyrosequenced raw amplicons (Acacia, AmpliconNoise, Linkage method). For each of the six isolated cells, an average of 541 V4 and 562 V9 amplicons assigned to radiolarians were obtained, from which one numerically dominant sequence and several minor variants were found. At the 97% identity, a diversity metrics commonly used in environmental surveys, up to 5 distinct OTUs were detected in a single cell. However, most amplicons grouped within a single OTU whereas other OTUs contained very few amplicons. Different analytical methods provided evidence that most minor variants forming different OTUs correspond to PCR and sequencing artifacts. Duplicate PCR and sequencing from the same DNA extract of a single cell had only 9 to 16% of unique amplicons in common, and alignment visualization of V4 and V9 amplicons showed that most minor variants contained substitutions in highly-conserved regions. We conclude that intracellular variability of the 18S rRNA in radiolarians is very limited despite its multi-copy nature and the existence of multiple nuclei in these protists. Our study recommends some technical guidelines to conservatively discard artificial amplicons from metabarcoding datasets, and thus properly assess the diversity and richness of protists in the environment.
Project description:Recent multigene phylogenetic analyses have contributed much to our understanding of eukaryotic phylogeny. However, the phylogenetic positions of various lineages within the eukaryotes have remained unresolved or in conflict between different phylogenetic studies. These phylogenetic ambiguities might have resulted from mixtures or integration from various factors including limited taxon sampling, missing data in the alignment, saturations of rapidly evolving genes, mixed analyses of short- and long-branched operational taxonomic units (OTUs), intracellular endoparasite and ciliate OTUs with unusual substitution etc. In order to evaluate the effects from intracellular endoparasite and ciliate OTUs co-analyzed on the eukaryotic phylogeny and simplify the results, we here used two different sets of data matrices of multiple slowly evolving genes with small amounts of missing data and examined the phylogenetic position of the secondary photosynthetic chromalveolates Haptophyta, one of the most abundant groups of oceanic phytoplankton and significant primary producers. In both sets, a robust sister relationship between Haptophyta and SAR (stramenopiles, alveolates, rhizarians, or SA [stramenopiles and alveolates]) was resolved when intracellular endoparasite/ciliate OTUs were excluded, but not in their presence. Based on comparisons of character optimizations on a fixed tree (with a clade composed of haptophytes and SAR or SA), disruption of the monophyly between haptophytes and SAR (or SA) in the presence of intracellular endoparasite/ciliate OTUs can be considered to be a result of multiple evolutionary reversals of character positions that supported the synapomorphy of the haptophyte and SAR (or SA) clade in the absence of intracellular endoparasite/ciliate OTUs.
Project description:The Arctic is highly sensitive to increasing global temperatures and is projected to experience dramatic ecological shifts in the next few decades. Oligosaline lakes are common in arctic regions where evaporation surpasses precipitation, however these extreme microbial communities are poorly characterized. Many oligosaline lakes, in contrast to freshwater ones, experience annual blooms of haptophyte algae that generate valuable alkenone biomarker records that can be used for paleoclimate reconstruction. These haptophyte algae are globally important, and globally distributed, aquatic phototrophs yet their presence in microbial molecular surveys is scarce. To target haptophytes in a molecular survey, we compared microbial community structure during two haptophyte bloom events in an arctic oligosaline lake, Lake BrayaSø in southwestern Greenland, using high-throughput pyrotag sequencing. Our comparison of two annual bloom events yielded surprisingly low taxon overlap, only 13% for bacterial and 26% for eukaryotic communities, which indicates significant annual variation in the underlying microbial populations. Both the bacterial and eukaryotic communities strongly resembled high-altitude and high latitude freshwater environments. In spite of high alkenone concentrations in the water column, and corresponding high haptophyte rRNA gene copy numbers, haptophyte pyrotag sequences were not the most abundant eukaryotic tag, suggesting that sequencing biases obscured relative abundance data. With over 170 haptophyte tag sequences, we observed only one haptophyte algal Operational Taxonomic Unit, a prerequisite for accurate paleoclimate reconstruction from the lake sediments. Our study is the first to examine microbial diversity in a Greenland lake using next generation sequencing and the first to target an extreme haptophyte bloom event. Our results provide a context for future explorations of aquatic ecology in the warming arctic.
Project description:Environmental diversity surveys are crucial for the bioassessment of anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems. Traditional benthic monitoring relying on morphotaxonomic inventories of macrofaunal communities is expensive, time-consuming and expertise-demanding. High-throughput sequencing of environmental DNA barcodes (metabarcoding) offers an alternative to describe biological communities. However, whether the metabarcoding approach meets the quality standards of benthic monitoring remains to be tested. Here, we compared morphological and eDNA/RNA-based inventories of metazoans from samples collected at 10 stations around a fish farm in Scotland, including near-cage and distant zones. For each of 5 replicate samples per station, we sequenced the V4 region of the 18S rRNA gene using the Illumina technology. After filtering, we obtained 841,766 metazoan sequences clustered in 163 Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs). We assigned the OTUs by combining local BLAST searches with phylogenetic analyses. We calculated two commonly used indices: the Infaunal Trophic Index and the AZTI Marine Biotic Index. We found that the molecular data faithfully reflect the morphology-based indices and provides an equivalent assessment of the impact associated with fish farms activities. We advocate that future benthic monitoring should integrate metabarcoding as a rapid and accurate tool for the evaluation of the quality of marine benthic ecosystems.