Untargeted metabolomic profiling of Sphagnum fallax reveals novel antimicrobial metabolites.
ABSTRACT: Sphagnum mosses dominate peatlands by employing harsh ecosystem tactics to prevent vascular plant growth and microbial degradation of these large carbon stores. Knowledge about Sphagnum-produced metabolites, their structure and their function, is important to better understand the mechanisms, underlying this carbon sequestration phenomenon in the face of climate variability. It is currently unclear which compounds are responsible for inhibition of organic matter decomposition and the mechanisms by which this inhibition occurs. Metabolite profiling of Sphagnum fallax was performed using two types of mass spectrometry (MS) systems and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR). Lipidome profiling was performed using LC-MS/MS. A total of 655 metabolites, including one hundred fifty-two lipids, were detected by NMR and LC-MS/MS-329 of which were novel metabolites (31 unknown lipids). Sphagum fallax metabolite profile was composed mainly of acid-like and flavonoid glycoside compounds, that could be acting as potent antimicrobial compounds, allowing Sphagnum to control its environment. Sphagnum fallax metabolite composition comparison against previously known antimicrobial plant metabolites confirmed this trend, with seventeen antimicrobial compounds discovered to be present in Sphagnum fallax, the majority of which were acids and glycosides. Biological activity of these compounds needs to be further tested to confirm antimicrobial qualities. Three fungal metabolites were identified providing insights into fungal colonization that may benefit Sphagnum. Characterizing the metabolite profile of Sphagnum fallax provided a baseline to understand the mechanisms in which Sphagnum fallax acts on its environment, its relation to carbon sequestration in peatlands, and provide key biomarkers to predict peatland C store changes (sequestration, emissions) as climate shifts.
Project description:Plant specialized metabolites play an important role in soil carbon (C) and nutrient fluxes. Through anti-microbial effects, they can modulate microbial assemblages and associated microbial-driven processes, such as nutrient cycling, so to positively or negatively cascade on plant fitness. As such, plant specialized metabolites can be used as a tool to supplant competitors. These compounds are little studied in bryophytes. This is especially notable in peatlands where Sphagnum mosses can dominate the vegetation and show strong interspecific competition. Sphagnum mosses form carpets where diverse microbial communities live and play a crucial role in Sphagnum fitness by regulating C and nutrient cycling. Here, by means of a microcosm experiment, we assessed to what extent moss metabolites of two Sphagnum species (S. fallax and S. divinum) modulate the competitive Sphagnum microbiome, with particular focus on microbial respiration. Using a reciprocal leachate experiment, we found that interactions between Sphagnum leachates and microbiome are species-specific. We show that both Sphagnum leachates differed in compound richness and compound relative abundance, especially sphagnum acid derivates, and that they include microbial-related metabolites. The addition of S. divinum leachate on the S. fallax microbiome immediately reduced microbial respiration (-95%). Prolonged exposition of S. fallax microbiome to S. divinum leachate destabilized the food web structure due to a modulation of microbial abundance. In particular, leachate addition decreased the biomass of testate amoebae and rotifers but increased that of ciliates. These changes did not influence microbial CO2 respiration, suggesting that the structural plasticity of the food web leads to its functional resistance through the replacement of species that are functionally redundant. In contrast, S. fallax leachate neither affected S. divinum microbial respiration, nor microbial biomass. We, however, found that S. fallax leachate addition stabilized the food web structure associated to S. divinum by changing trophic interactions among species. The differences in allelopathic effects between both Sphagnum leachates might impact their competitiveness and affect species distribution at local scale. Our study further paves the way to better understand the role of moss and microbial specialized metabolites in peatland C dynamics.
Project description:Peatlands are one of the most important ecosystems due to their biodiversity and abundant organic compounds; therefore, it is important to observe how different plant species in peatlands react to changing environmental conditions. Sphagnum spp. are the main component of peatlands and are considered as the creator of conditions favorable for carbon storage in the form of peat. Sphagnum angustifolium and Sphagnum fallax are taxonomically very close species. To examine their adaptability to climate change, we studied the morphology and pigment content of these two species from environmental manipulation sites in Poland, where the environment was continuously manipulated for temperature and precipitation. The warming of peat was induced by using infrared heaters, whereas total precipitation was reduced by a curtain that cuts the nighttime precipitation. Morphology of S. angustifolium stayed under climate manipulation relatively stable. However, the main morphological parameters of S. fallax were significantly affected by precipitation reduction. Thus, this study indicates S. angustifolium is better adapted in comparison to S. fallax for drier and warmer conditions.
Project description:Sphagnum-dominated peatlands comprise a globally important pool of soil carbon (C) and are vulnerable to climate change. While peat mosses of the genus Sphagnum are known to harbor diverse microbial communities that mediate C and nitrogen (N) cycling in peatlands, the effects of climate change on Sphagnum microbiome composition and functioning are largely unknown. We investigated the impacts of experimental whole-ecosystem warming on the Sphagnum moss microbiome, focusing on N2 fixing microorganisms (diazotrophs). To characterize the microbiome response to warming, we performed next-generation sequencing of small subunit (SSU) rRNA and nitrogenase (nifH) gene amplicons and quantified rates of N2 fixation activity in Sphagnum fallax individuals sampled from experimental enclosures over 2 years in a northern Minnesota, USA bog. The taxonomic diversity of overall microbial communities and diazotroph communities, as well as N2 fixation rates, decreased with warming (p < 0.05). Following warming, diazotrophs shifted from a mixed community of Nostocales (Cyanobacteria) and Rhizobiales (Alphaproteobacteria) to predominance of Nostocales. Microbiome community composition differed between years, with some diazotroph populations persisting while others declined in relative abundance in warmed plots in the second year. Our results demonstrate that warming substantially alters the community composition, diversity, and N2 fixation activity of peat moss microbiomes, which may ultimately impact host fitness, ecosystem productivity, and C storage potential in peatlands.
Project description:The fate of Northern peatlands under climate change is important because of their contribution to global carbon (C) storage. Peatlands are maintained via greater plant productivity (especially of Sphagnum species) than decomposition, and the processes involved are strongly mediated by climate. Although some studies predict that warming will relax constraints on decomposition, leading to decreased C sequestration, others predict increases in productivity and thus increases in C sequestration. We explored the lack of congruence between these predictions using single-species and integrated species distribution models as proxies for understanding the environmental correlates of North American Sphagnum peatland occurrence and how projected changes to the environment might influence these peatlands under climate change. Using Maximum entropy and BIOMOD modelling platforms, we generated single and integrated species distribution models for four common Sphagnum species in North America under current climate and a 2050 climate scenario projected by three general circulation models. We evaluated the environmental correlates of the models and explored the disparities in niche breadth, niche overlap, and climate suitability among current and future models. The models consistently show that Sphagnum peatland distribution is influenced by the balance between soil moisture deficit and temperature of the driest quarter-year. The models identify the east and west coasts of North America as the core climate space for Sphagnum peatland distribution. The models show that, at least in the immediate future, the area of suitable climate for Sphagnum peatland could expand. This result suggests that projected warming would be balanced effectively by the anticipated increase in precipitation, which would increase Sphagnum productivity.
Project description:Peatland ecosystem services include drinking water provision, flood mitigation, habitat provision and carbon sequestration. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal is a key treatment process for the supply of potable water downstream from peat-dominated catchments. A transition from peat-forming Sphagnum moss to vascular plants has been observed in peatlands degraded by (a) land management, (b) atmospheric deposition and (c) climate change. Here within we show that the presence of vascular plants with higher annual above-ground biomass production leads to a seasonal addition of labile plant material into the peatland ecosystem as litter recalcitrance is lower. The net effect will be a smaller litter carbon pool due to higher rates of decomposition, and a greater seasonal pattern of DOC flux. Conventional water treatment involving coagulation-flocculation-sedimentation may be impeded by vascular plant-derived DOC. It has been shown that vascular plant-derived DOC is more difficult to remove via these methods than DOC derived from Sphagnum, whilst also being less susceptible to microbial mineralisation before reaching the treatment works. These results provide evidence that practices aimed at re-establishing Sphagnum moss on degraded peatlands could reduce costs and improve efficacy at water treatment works, offering an alternative to 'end-of-pipe' solutions through management of ecosystem service provision.
Project description:Background and aims:Peatland moss communities play an important role in ecosystem function. Drivers such as fire and atmospheric pollution have the capacity to influence mosses via multiple pathways. Here, we investigate physical and chemical processes which may influence establishment and growth of three key moss species in peatlands. Methods:A controlled factorial experiment investigated the effects of different peat bulk density, ash deposition and rainwater chemistry treatments on the growth of Sphagnum capillifolium, S. fallax and Campylopus introflexus. Results:Higher peat bulk density limited growth of both Sphagnum species. S. capillifolium and C. introflexus responded positively to ash deposition. Less polluted rain limited growth of C. introflexus. Biomass was well correlated with percentage cover in all three species. Conclusions:Peat bulk density increases caused by fire or drainage can limit Sphagnum establishment and growth, potentially threatening peatland function. Ash inputs may have direct benefits for some Sphagnum species, but are also likely to increase competition from other bryophytes and vascular plants which may offset positive effects. Rainwater pollution may similarly increase competition to Sphagnum, and could enhance positive effects of ash addition on C. introflexus growth. Finally, cover can provide a useful approximation of biomass where destructive sampling is undesirable.
Project description:Peat forming Sphagnum mosses are able to prevent the dominance of vascular plants under ombrotrophic conditions by efficiently scavenging atmospherically deposited nitrogen (N). N-uptake kinetics of these mosses are therefore expected to play a key role in differential N availability, plant competition, and carbon sequestration in Sphagnum peatlands. The interacting effects of rain N concentration and exposure time on moss N-uptake rates are, however, poorly understood. We investigated the effects of N-concentration (1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 µM), N-form ((15)N-ammonium or nitrate) and exposure time (0.5, 2, 72 h) on uptake kinetics for Sphagnum magellanicum from a pristine bog in Patagonia (Argentina) and from a Dutch bog exposed to decades of N-pollution. Uptake rates for ammonium were higher than for nitrate, and N-binding at adsorption sites was negligible. During the first 0.5 h, N-uptake followed saturation kinetics revealing a high affinity (Km 3.5-6.5 µM). Ammonium was taken up 8 times faster than nitrate, whereas over 72 hours this was only 2 times. Uptake rates decreased drastically with increasing exposure times, which implies that many short-term N-uptake experiments in literature may well have overestimated long-term uptake rates and ecosystem retention. Sphagnum from the polluted site (i.e. long-term N exposure) showed lower uptake rates than mosses from the pristine site, indicating an adaptive response. Sphagnum therefore appears to be highly efficient in using short N pulses (e.g. rainfall in pristine areas). This strategy has important ecological and evolutionary implications: at high N input rates, the risk of N-toxicity seems to be reduced by lower uptake rates of Sphagnum, at the expense of its long-term filter capacity and related competitive advantage over vascular plants. As shown by our conceptual model, interacting effects of N-deposition and climate change (changes in rainfall) will seriously alter the functioning of Sphagnum peatlands.
Project description:Viruses impact microbial activity and carbon cycling in various environments, but their diversity and ecological importance in Sphagnum-peatlands are unknown. Abundances of viral particles and prokaryotes were monitored bi-monthly at a fen and a bog at two different layers of the peat surface. Viral particle abundance ranged from 1.7 x 10(6) to 5.6 x 10(8) particles mL(-1), and did not differ between fen and bog but showed seasonal fluctuations. These fluctuations were positively correlated with prokaryote abundance and dissolved organic carbon, and negatively correlated with water-table height and dissolved oxygen. Using shotgun metagenomics we observed a shift in viral diversity between winter/spring and summer/autumn, indicating a seasonal succession of viral communities, mainly driven by weather-related environmental changes. Based on the seasonal asynchrony between viral and microbial diversity, we hypothesize a seasonal shift in the active microbial communities associated with a shift from lysogenic to lytic lifestyles. Our results suggest that temporal variations of environmental conditions rather than current habitat differences control the dynamics of virus-host interactions in Sphagnum-dominated peatlands.
Project description:Peatlands are significant carbon (C) stores, playing a key role in nature-based climate change mitigation. While the effectiveness of non-forested peatlands as C reservoirs is increasingly recognized, the C sequestration function of forested peatlands remains poorly documented, despite their widespread distribution. Here, we evaluate the C sequestration potential of pristine boreal forested peatlands over both recent and millennial timescales. C stock estimates reveal that most of the carbon stored in these ecosystems is found in organic horizons (22.6-66.0 kg m<sup>-2</sup>), whereas tree C mass (2.8-5.7 kg m<sup>-2</sup>) decreases with thickening peat. For the first time, we compare the boreal C storage capacities of peat layers and tree biomass on the same timescale, showing that organic horizons (11.0-12.6 kg m<sup>-2</sup>) can store more carbon than tree aboveground and belowground biomass (2.8-5.7 kg m<sup>-2</sup>) even over a short time period (last 200 years). We also show that forested peatlands have similar recent rates of C accumulation to boreal non-forested peatlands but lower long-term rates, suggesting higher decay and more important peat layer combustion during fire events. Our findings highlight the significance of forested peatlands for C sequestration and suggest that greater consideration should be given to peat C stores in national greenhouse gas inventories and conservation policies.
Project description:Sphagnum-dominated peatlands play an important role in global carbon storage and represent significant sources of economic and ecological value. While recent efforts to describe microbial diversity and metabolic potential of the Sphagnum microbiome have demonstrated the importance of its microbial community, little is known about the viral constituents. We used metatranscriptomics to describe the diversity and activity of viruses infecting microbes within the Sphagnum peat bog. The vegetative portions of six Sphagnum plants were obtained from a peatland in northern Minnesota, and the total RNA was extracted and sequenced. Metatranscriptomes were assembled and contigs were screened for the presence of conserved virus marker genes. Using bacteriophage capsid protein gp23 as a marker for phage diversity, we identified 33 contigs representing undocumented phages that were active in the community at the time of sampling. Similarly, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and the nucleocytoplasmic large DNA virus (NCLDV) major capsid protein were used as markers for single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses and NCLDV, respectively. In total, 114 contigs were identified as originating from undescribed ssRNA viruses, 22 of which represent nearly complete genomes. An additional 64 contigs were identified as being from NCLDVs. Finally, 7 contigs were identified as putative virophage or polinton-like viruses. We developed co-occurrence networks with these markers in relation to the expression of potential-host housekeeping gene rpb1 to predict virus-host relationships, identifying 13 groups. Together, our approach offers new tools for the identification of virus diversity and interactions in understudied clades and suggests that viruses may play a considerable role in the ecology of the Sphagnum microbiome.IMPORTANCE Sphagnum-dominated peatlands play an important role in maintaining atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by modifying conditions in the surrounding soil to favor the growth of Sphagnum over that of other plant species. This lowers the rate of decomposition and facilitates the accumulation of fixed carbon in the form of partially decomposed biomass. The unique environment produced by Sphagnum enriches for the growth of a diverse microbial consortia that benefit from and support the moss's growth, while also maintaining the hostile soil conditions. While a growing body of research has begun to characterize the microbial groups that colonize Sphagnum, little is currently known about the ecological factors that constrain community structure and define ecosystem function. Top-down population control by viruses is almost completely undescribed. This study provides insight into the significant viral influence on the Sphagnum microbiome and identifies new potential model systems to study virus-host interactions in the peatland ecosystem.