Seaweed Loads Cause Stronger Bacterial Community Shifts in Coastal Lagoon Sediments Than Nutrient Loads.
ABSTRACT: The input of nutrients from anthropogenic sources is the leading cause of coastal eutrophication and is usually coupled with algal/seaweed blooms. Effects may be magnified in semi-enclosed systems, such as highly productive coastal lagoon ecosystems. Eutrophication and seaweed blooms can lead to ecosystem disruption. Previous studies have considered only one of these factors, disregarding possible interactive effects and the effect of the blooming species' identity on sediment bacterial communities. We tested the effect of experimental nutrient loading and two common blooming seaweeds (Ulva rigida and Gracilaria vermiculophylla) in coastal lagoon sediments, on the structure of bacterial communities (using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing) and corresponding putative functional potential (using PiCRUSt). At the Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU) level, the addition of nutrients reduced bacterial community ?-diversity and decreased the abundance of sulfate reducers (Desulfobacterales) compared to sulfur oxidizers/denitrifiers (Chromatiales and Campylobacterales), whereas this was not the case at the order level. Seaweed addition did not change bacterial ?-diversity and the effect on community structure depended on the taxonomic level considered. The addition of Gracilaria increased the abundance of orders and OTUs involved in sulfate reduction and organic matter decomposition (Desulfobacterales, Bacteroidales, and Clostridiales, respectively), an effect which was also detected when only Ulva was added. Nutrients and the seaweeds combined only interacted for Ulva and nutrients, which increased known sulfide oxidizers and denitrifiers (order Campylobacterales). Seaweed enrichment affected putative functional profiles; a stronger increase of sulfur cycling KEGG pathways was assigned to nutrient-disturbed sediments, particularly with the seaweeds and especially Ulva. In contrast, nitrogen and sulfur cycle pathways showed a higher abundance of genes related to dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) in Ulva+nutrients treatments. However, the other seaweed treatments increased the nitrogen fixation genes. Thiosulfate reduction, performed by sulfate-reducing bacteria, increased in seaweed treatments except when Ulva was combined with nutrients. In conclusion, the in situ addition of nutrients and the seaweeds to intertidal sediments affected the bacterial communities differently and independently. The predicted functional profile suggests a shift in relative abundances of putative pathways for nitrogen and sulfur cycles, in line with the taxonomic changes of the bacterial communities.
Project description:Seaweeds survive in marine waters with high sulfate concentration compared to those living at freshwater habitats. The cell wall polymer of Gracilaria spp. which supplies more than 50% of the world agar is heavily sulfated. Since sulfation reduces the agar quality, it is interesting to investigate the effects of sulfate deprivation on the sulfate contents of seaweed and agar, as well as the metabolic pathways of these seaweeds. In this study, two agarophytes G. changii and G. salicornia were treated under sulfate deprivation for 5 days. The sulfate contents in the seaweed/agar were generally lower in sulfate-deprivated samples compared to those in the controls, but the differences were only statistically significant for seaweed sample of G. changii and agar sample of G. salicornia. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of sulfate-deprivated and untreated seaweed samples revealed 1,292 and 3,439 differentially expressed genes (DEGs; ?1.5-fold) in sulfate-deprivated G. changii and G. salicornia, respectively, compared to their respective controls. Among the annotated DEGs were genes involved in putative agar biosynthesis, sulfur metabolism, metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids, carbon metabolism and oxidative stress. These findings shed light on the sulfate deprivation responses in agarophytes and help to identify candidate genes involved in agar biosynthesis.
Project description:Seaweed cultivation is a high growth industry that is primarily targeted at human food and hydrocolloid markets. However, seaweed biomass also offers a feedstock for the production of nutrient-rich biochar for soil amelioration. We provide the first data of biochar yield and characteristics from intensively cultivated seaweeds (Saccharina, Undaria and Sargassum--brown seaweeds, and Gracilaria, Kappaphycus and Eucheuma--red seaweeds). While there is some variability in biochar properties as a function of the origin of seaweed, there are several defining and consistent characteristics of seaweed biochar, in particular a relatively low C content and surface area but high yield, essential trace elements (N, P and K) and exchangeable cations (particularly K). The pH of seaweed biochar ranges from neutral (7) to alkaline (11), allowing for broad-spectrum applications in diverse soil types. We find that seaweed biochar is a unique material for soil amelioration that is consistently different to biochar derived from ligno-cellulosic feedstock. Blending of seaweed and ligno-cellulosic biochar could provide a soil ameliorant that combines a high fixed C content with a mineral-rich substrate to enhance crop productivity.
Project description:Seasonal hypoxia in coastal systems drastically changes the availability of electron acceptors in bottom water, which alters the sedimentary reoxidation of reduced compounds. However, the effect of seasonal hypoxia on the chemolithoautotrophic community that catalyzes these reoxidation reactions is rarely studied. Here, we examine the changes in activity and structure of the sedimentary chemolithoautotrophic bacterial community of a seasonally hypoxic saline basin under oxic (spring) and hypoxic (summer) conditions. Combined 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and analysis of phospholipid-derived fatty acids indicated a major temporal shift in community structure. Aerobic sulfur-oxidizing Gammaproteobacteria (Thiotrichales) and Epsilonproteobacteria (Campylobacterales) were prevalent during spring, whereas Deltaproteobacteria (Desulfobacterales) related to sulfate-reducing bacteria prevailed during summer hypoxia. Chemolithoautotrophy rates in the surface sediment were three times higher in spring than in summer. The depth distribution of chemolithoautotrophy was linked to the distinct sulfur oxidation mechanisms identified through microsensor profiling, i.e., canonical sulfur oxidation, electrogenic sulfur oxidation by cable bacteria, and sulfide oxidation coupled to nitrate reduction by Beggiatoaceae The metabolic diversity of the sulfur-oxidizing bacterial community suggests a complex niche partitioning within the sediment, probably driven by the availability of reduced sulfur compounds (H2S, S0, and S2O32-) and electron acceptors (O2 and NO3-) regulated by seasonal hypoxia.IMPORTANCE Chemolithoautotrophic microbes in the seafloor are dependent on electron acceptors, like oxygen and nitrate, that diffuse from the overlying water. Seasonal hypoxia, however, drastically changes the availability of these electron acceptors in the bottom water; hence, one expects a strong impact of seasonal hypoxia on sedimentary chemolithoautotrophy. A multidisciplinary investigation of the sediments in a seasonally hypoxic coastal basin confirms this hypothesis. Our data show that bacterial community structure and chemolithoautotrophic activity varied with the seasonal depletion of oxygen. Unexpectedly, the dark carbon fixation was also dependent on the dominant microbial pathway of sulfur oxidation occurring in the sediment (i.e., canonical sulfur oxidation, electrogenic sulfur oxidation by cable bacteria, and sulfide oxidation coupled to nitrate reduction by Beggiatoaceae). These results suggest that a complex niche partitioning within the sulfur-oxidizing bacterial community additionally affects the chemolithoautotrophic community of seasonally hypoxic sediments.
Project description:While there is growing interest in understanding how marine life will respond to future ocean acidification, many coastal ecosystems currently experience intense acidification in response to upwelling, eutrophication, or riverine discharge. Such acidification can be inhibitory to calcifying animals, but less is known regarding how non-calcifying macroalgae may respond to elevated CO2. Here, we report on experiments performed during summer through fall with North Atlantic populations of Gracilaria and Ulva that were grown in situ within a mesotrophic estuary (Shinnecock Bay, NY, USA) or exposed to normal and elevated, but environmentally realistic, levels of pCO2 and/or nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus). In nearly all experiments, the growth rates of Gracilaria were significantly increased by an average of 70% beyond in situ and control conditions when exposed to elevated levels of pCO2 (p<0.05), but were unaffected by nutrient enrichment. In contrast, the growth response of Ulva was more complex as this alga experienced significantly (p<0.05) increased growth rates in response to both elevated pCO2 and elevated nutrients and, in two cases, pCO2 and nutrients interacted to provide a synergistically enhanced growth rate for Ulva. Across all experiments, elevated pCO2 significantly increased Ulva growth rates by 30% (p<0.05), while the response to nutrients was smaller (p>0.05). The ?13C content of both Gracilaria and Ulva decreased two-to-three fold when grown under elevated pCO2 (p<0.001) and mixing models demonstrated these macroalgae experienced a physiological shift from near exclusive use of HCO3- to primarily CO2 use when exposed to elevated pCO2. This shift in carbon use coupled with significantly increased growth in response to elevated pCO2 suggests that photosynthesis of these algae was limited by their inorganic carbon supply. Given that eutrophication can yield elevated levels of pCO2, this study suggests that the overgrowth of macroalgae in eutrophic estuaries can be directly promoted by acidification, a process that will intensify in the coming decades.
Project description:Enzymatic hydrolysis of seaweed biomass was studied using xylanase produced from marine bacteria Bacillus sp. strain BT21 through solid-state fermentation of wheat bran. Three types of seaweeds, Ahnfeltia plicata, Padina tetrastromatica and Ulva lactuca, were selected as representatives of red, brown, and green seaweeds, respectively. Seaweed biomass was pretreated with hot water. The efficiency of pretreated biomass to release reducing sugar by the action of xylanase as well as the type of monosaccharide released during enzyme saccharification of seaweed biomass was studied. It was seen that pretreated biomass of seaweed A. plicata, U. lactuca, and P. tetrastroma, at 121 °C for 45 min, followed by incubation with 50 IU xylanase released reducing sugars of 233 ± 5.3, 100 ± 6.1 and 73.3 ± 4.1 µg/mg of seaweed biomass, respectively. Gas chromatography analysis illustrated the release of xylose, glucose, and mannose during the treatment process. Hot water pre-treatment process enhanced enzymatic conversion of biomass into sugars. This study revealed the important role of xylanase in saccharification of seaweed, a promising feedstock for third-generation bioethanol production.
Project description:Fossil fuel combustion, eutrophication, and upwelling introduce excess CO2 into coastal zones. The extent to which marine autotrophs may benefit from elevated CO2 will be a function of their carbon limitation and, among other factors, competition with other primary producers. Here, we report on experiments performed with North Atlantic species of Ulva and Gracilaria grown in situ or exposed to ambient (~400?µatm) and elevated pCO2 (~2500?µatm) and/or subjected to competition with each other and/or with natural plankton assemblages. Elevated pCO2 significantly increased the growth rates of Gracilaria and Ulva and yielded significant declines in tissue ?13C, suggesting that increased growth was associated with increased CO2 use relative to HCO3-. Gracilaria growth was unaffected by competition with plankton or Ulva, while Ulva experienced significantly reduced growth when competing with Gracilaria or plankton. Dinoflagellates experienced significantly increased growth when exposed to elevated pCO2 but significantly slower growth when competing with Gracilaria. Elevated carbon-to-nitrogen ratios among macroalgae suggested that competition for nitrogen also shaped interactions among autotrophs, particularly Ulva. While some estuarine autotrophs benefit from elevated pCO2, the benefit can change when direct competition with other primary producers is considered with Gracilaria outcompeting Ulva and dinoflagellates outcompeting diatoms under elevated pCO2.
Project description:The survival of wetland plant species largely relies on physiological adaptations essential for submergence and desiccation. Intertidal seaweeds, unlike terrestrial plants, have unique adaptations to submergence and can also sustain desiccation arising from tidal rhythms. This study determined the differential metabolic regulations in the inter-tidal seaweed species Ulva lactuca against the submergence and desiccation. During desiccation, the relative water content of the algal thalli declined with concomitant increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation. Nevertheless, the trends reversed during recovery on re-submergence and attained homeostasis. Metabolite profiling of U. lactuca revealed desiccation induced balance in energy reserve utilization by adjusting carbohydrate metabolism and switch over to ammonia metabolism. Upon re-submergence, thalli showed an increase in fermentative metabolites, pyruvate-alanine conversion, and the GABA shunt. Prolonged submergence induced substrate level phosphorylation mediated sugar biosynthesis while continuing the alternative carbon flux through fermentative metabolism, an increase in osmoprotectants glycine and betaine, sulfur bearing compounds cysteine and hypotaurine, and phenolic compound coniferaldehyde. The determined metabolic regulations in U. lactuca for submergence tolerance provide insights into potential evolutionarily conserved protective mechanisms across the green lineage and also highlights the possible role of sulfur oxoforms as strong free radical scavengers.
Project description:Seagrasses are important habitat-formers and ecosystem engineers that are under threat from bloom-forming seaweeds. These seaweeds have been suggested to outcompete the seagrasses, particularly when facilitated by eutrophication, causing regime shifts where green meadows and clear waters are replaced with unstable sediments, turbid waters, hypoxia, and poor habitat conditions for fishes and invertebrates. Understanding the situations under which seaweeds impact seagrasses on local patch scales can help proactive management and prevent losses at greater scales. Here, we provide a quantitative review of available published manipulative experiments (all conducted at the patch-scale), to test which attributes of seaweeds and seagrasses (e.g., their abundances, sizes, morphology, taxonomy, attachment type, or origin) influence impacts. Weighted and unweighted meta-analyses (Hedges d metric) of 59 experiments showed generally high variability in attribute-impact relationships. Our main significant findings were that (a) abundant seaweeds had stronger negative impacts on seagrasses than sparse seaweeds, (b) unattached and epiphytic seaweeds had stronger impacts than 'rooted' seaweeds, and (c) small seagrass species were more susceptible than larger species. Findings (a) and (c) were rather intuitive. It was more surprising that 'rooted' seaweeds had comparatively small impacts, particularly given that this category included the infamous invasive Caulerpa species. This result may reflect that seaweed biomass and/or shading and metabolic by-products like anoxia and sulphides could be lower for rooted seaweeds. In conclusion, our results represent simple and robust first-order generalities about seaweed impacts on seagrasses. This review also documented a limited number of primary studies. We therefore identified major knowledge gaps that need to be addressed before general predictive models on seaweed-seagrass interactions can be build, in order to effectively protect seagrass habitats from detrimental competition from seaweeds.
Project description:Currently, little is known about the microbial diversity in the sediments of Pacmanus and Desmos hydrothermal fields in Manus Basin. In this study, Illumina-based sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons and metagenomic analysis were conducted to investigate the microbial populations and metabolic profiles in the sediments from four different regions in Pacmanus and Desmos hydrothermal fields. It was found that Gammaproteobacteria and Thaumarchaeota were the most abundant bacterial and archaeal populations, respectively. The autotrophic prokaryotes in the four communities probably fixed CO2 via four major pathways, i.e. Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle, reductive acetyl-CoA cycle, rTCA cycle, and 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle. Ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota, nitrifiers, denitrifiers, and sulfur oxidizers belonging to the subgroups of Proteobacteria (e.g., alpha, beta, gamma, and epsilon), Nitrospira, and Nitrospina, and sulfate-reducing Desulfobacterales likely played critical roles in nitrogen and sulfur cycling, in which ammonia, sulfur compounds, and hydrogen could be utilized as potential energy sources. These findings revealed new insights into the operational mechanism of the microbial communities associated with Pacmanus and Desmos hydrothermal fields.
Project description:Interrelations between epiphytic bacteria and macroalgae are multifaceted and complicated, though little is known about the community structure, interaction and functions of those epiphytic bacteria. This study comprehensively characterized the epiphytic bacterial communities associated with eight different common seaweeds collected from a rocky intertidal zone on the Indian Ocean at Cape Vidal, South Africa. High-throughput sequencing analyses indicated that seaweed-associated bacterial communities were dominated by the phyla Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Cyanobacteria, Planctomycetes, Actinobacteria and Verrucomicrobia. Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis showed the presence of elemental composition in the surface of examined seaweeds, in varying concentrations. Cluster analysis showed that bacterial communities of brown seaweeds (SW2 and SW4) were closely resembled those of green seaweeds (SW1) and red seaweeds (SW7) while those of brown seaweeds formed a separate branch. Predicted functional capabilities of epiphytic bacteria using PICRUSt analysis revealed abundance of genes related to metabolic and biosynthetic activities. Further important identified functional interactions included genes for bacterial chemotaxis, which could be responsible for the observed association and network of elemental-microbes interaction. The study concludes that the diversity of epiphytic bacteria on seaweed surfaces is greatly influenced by algal organic exudates as well as elemental deposits on their surfaces, which triggers chemotaxis responses from epiphytic bacteria with the requisite genes to metabolise those substrates.