ABSTRACT: EMG produced TPA metagenomics assembly of the Marine subseafloor sediment microbial communities, sample from White Oak River Estuary, NC, USA 14E metagenome (marine sediment metagenome) data set.
Project description:Information on migration patterns is critical to using no-take migratory corridors and marine reserves to protect the spawning stock of commercially exploited species. Both active and passive acoustic tracking methods quantified movement of commercially and ecologically important blue crabs in the White Oak River estuary, NC, USA. We targeted post-mating female crabs migrating down-estuary to oceanic spawning grounds. Crabs travelled approximately 14.1 km mainly in deeper channels and over 12-26 days from mating areas to spawning grounds. No crabs were detected migrating down-estuary in the autumn and only 30% were detected migrating down-estuary in spring. None of the crabs detected near spawning grounds were detected or recaptured back up-estuary, suggesting that they either (i) do not return to the estuary after a one to two week period in the spawning area or (ii) were captured by fishermen. The results from this study demonstrate that (1) acoustic transmitters coupled with passive acoustic receivers provided reliable and valuable data on migration patterns of mature female blue crabs and (2) mature female blue crabs are capable of migrating primarily within deep channels to spawning grounds shortly after insemination.
Project description:Marine and estuary sediments contain a variety of uncultured archaea whose metabolic and ecological roles are unknown. De novo assembly and binning of high-throughput metagenomic sequences from the sulfate-methane transition zone in estuary sediments resulted in the reconstruction of three partial to near-complete (2.4-3.9?Mb) genomes belonging to a previously unrecognized archaeal group. Phylogenetic analyses of ribosomal RNA genes and ribosomal proteins revealed that this group is distinct from any previously characterized archaea. For this group, found in the White Oak River estuary, and previously registered in sedimentary samples, we propose the name 'Thorarchaeota'. The Thorarchaeota appear to be capable of acetate production from the degradation of proteins. Interestingly, they also have elemental sulfur and thiosulfate reduction genes suggesting they have an important role in intermediate sulfur cycling. The reconstruction of these genomes from a deeply branched, widespread group expands our understanding of sediment biogeochemistry and the evolutionary history of Archaea.
Project description:Subseafloor sediment hosts a large, taxonomically rich, and metabolically diverse microbial ecosystem. However, the factors that control microbial diversity in subseafloor sediment have rarely been explored. Here, we show that bacterial richness varies with organic degradation rate and sediment age. At three open-ocean sites (in the Bering Sea and equatorial Pacific) and one continental margin site (Indian Ocean), richness decreases exponentially with increasing sediment depth. The rate of decrease in richness with increasing depth varies from site to site. The vertical succession of predominant terminal electron acceptors correlates with abundance-weighted community composition but does not drive the vertical decrease in richness. Vertical patterns of richness at the open-ocean sites closely match organic degradation rates; both properties are highest near the seafloor and decline together as sediment depth increases. This relationship suggests that (i) total catabolic activity and/or electron donor diversity exerts a primary influence on bacterial richness in marine sediment and (ii) many bacterial taxa that are poorly adapted for subseafloor sedimentary conditions are degraded in the geologically young sediment, where respiration rates are high. Richness consistently takes a few hundred thousand years to decline from near-seafloor values to much lower values in deep anoxic subseafloor sediment, regardless of sedimentation rate, predominant terminal electron acceptor, or oceanographic context.Subseafloor sediment provides a wonderful opportunity to investigate the drivers of microbial diversity in communities that may have been isolated for millions of years. Our paper shows the impact of in situ conditions on bacterial community structure in subseafloor sediment. Specifically, it shows that bacterial richness in subseafloor sediment declines exponentially with sediment age, and in parallel with organic-fueled oxidation rate. This result suggests that subseafloor diversity ultimately depends on electron donor diversity and/or total community respiration. This work studied how and why biological richness changes over time in the extraordinary ecosystem of subseafloor sediment.
Project description:We investigated compositional relationships between bacterial communities in the water column and those in deep-sea sediment at three environmentally distinct Pacific sites (two in the Equatorial Pacific and one in the North Pacific Gyre). Through pyrosequencing of the v4-v6 hypervariable regions of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene, we characterized 450,104 pyrotags representing 29,814 operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 97% similarity). Hierarchical clustering and non-metric multidimensional scaling partition the samples into four broad groups, regardless of geographic location: a photic-zone community, a subphotic community, a shallow sedimentary community and a subseafloor sedimentary community (?1.5 meters below seafloor). Abundance-weighted community compositions of water-column samples exhibit a similar trend with depth at all sites, with successive epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic and abyssopelagic communities. Taxonomic richness is generally highest in the water-column O2 minimum zone and lowest in the subseafloor sediment. OTUs represented by abundant tags in the subseafloor sediment are often present but represented by few tags in the water column, and represented by moderately abundant tags in the shallow sediment. In contrast, OTUs represented by abundant tags in the water are generally absent from the subseafloor sediment. These results are consistent with (i) dispersal of marine sedimentary bacteria via the ocean, and (ii) selection of the subseafloor sedimentary community from within the community present in shallow sediment.
Project description:Mhlathuze Estuary constitutes one of the ecological most important estuaries in southern Africa and is regarded as an estuary of high conservation importance. The ongoing expansion of the adjacent industrialized Richards Bay Harbour increases the risk of metal pollution to the estuary. This study provides insight into the extent and sources of trace metal contamination using pollution indices and sediment quality guidelines and the effect on macrobenthic habitat quality. Sediment samples for sediment metal and macrobenthic analysis were collected quarterly during 2016-2017 at five sites in the estuary using a marine-grade Zabalocki grab. Metal concentrations were determined using an ICP-OES. Sediment metal concentrations were consistently highest in the subtidal mudflats and lowest in marine sand at the mouth of the estuary. Concentrations of all metals displayed significant differences between sites (P < 0.05). Pollution indices indicated moderate enrichment of Cr at all sites, although the mean pollution load index showed the estuary to be unpolluted. Comparison with sediment quality guidelines revealed that concentrations of Ni and Cr were potentially toxic to biota. Using multivariate analysis, metal concentrations appeared not to significantly affect the macrobenthic community. The multi-metric biotic index M-AMBI proved to be a robust tool in the habitat quality assessment of the estuary. The continuing use of M-AMBI as a biomonitoring tool for ecological management of the estuary is advocated.
Project description:Marine cold seeps transmit fluids between the subseafloor and seafloor biospheres through upward migration of hydrocarbons that originate in deep sediment layers. It remains unclear how geofluids influence the composition of the seabed microbiome and if they transport deep subsurface life up to the surface. Here we analyzed 172 marine surficial sediments from the deep-water Eastern Gulf of Mexico to assess whether hydrocarbon fluid migration is a mechanism for upward microbial dispersal. While 132 of these sediments contained migrated liquid hydrocarbons, evidence of continuous advective transport of thermogenic alkane gases was observed in 11 sediments. Gas seeps harbored distinct microbial communities featuring bacteria and archaea that are well-known inhabitants of deep biosphere sediments. Specifically, 25 distinct sequence variants within the uncultivated bacterial phyla Atribacteria and Aminicenantes and the archaeal order Thermoprofundales occurred in significantly greater relative sequence abundance along with well-known seep-colonizing members of the bacterial genus Sulfurovum, in the gas-positive sediments. Metabolic predictions guided by metagenome-assembled genomes suggested these organisms are anaerobic heterotrophs capable of nonrespiratory breakdown of organic matter, likely enabling them to inhabit energy-limited deep subseafloor ecosystems. These results point to petroleum geofluids as a vector for the advection-assisted upward dispersal of deep biosphere microbes from subsurface to surface environments, shaping the microbiome of cold seep sediments and providing a general mechanism for the maintenance of microbial diversity in the deep sea.
Project description:Although little is known regarding microbial life within our planet's rock-hosted deep subseafloor biosphere, boreholes drilled through deep ocean sediment and into the underlying basaltic crust provide invaluable windows of access that have been used previously to document the presence of microorganisms within fluids percolating through the deep ocean crust. In this study, the analysis of 1.7 million small subunit ribosomal RNA genes amplified and sequenced from marine sediment, bottom seawater and basalt-hosted deep subseafloor fluids that span multiple years and locations on the Juan de Fuca Ridge flank was used to quantitatively delineate a subseafloor microbiome comprised of distinct bacteria and archaea. Hot, anoxic crustal fluids tapped by newly installed seafloor sampling observatories at boreholes U1362A and U1362B contained abundant bacterial lineages of phylogenetically unique Nitrospirae, Aminicenantes, Calescamantes and Chloroflexi. Although less abundant, the domain Archaea was dominated by unique, uncultivated lineages of marine benthic group E, the Terrestrial Hot Spring Crenarchaeotic Group, the Bathyarchaeota and relatives of cultivated, sulfate-reducing Archaeoglobi. Consistent with recent geochemical measurements and bioenergetic predictions, the potential importance of methane cycling and sulfate reduction were imprinted within the basalt-hosted deep subseafloor crustal fluid microbial community. This unique window of access to the deep ocean subsurface basement reveals a microbial landscape that exhibits previously undetected spatial heterogeneity.
Project description:Anoxic subsurface sediments contain communities of heterotrophic microorganisms that metabolize organic carbon at extraordinarily low rates. In order to assess the mechanisms by which subsurface microorganisms access detrital sedimentary organic matter, we measured kinetics of a range of extracellular peptidases in anoxic sediments of the White Oak River Estuary, NC. Nine distinct peptidase substrates were enzymatically hydrolyzed at all depths. Potential peptidase activities (V max) decreased with increasing sediment depth, although V max expressed on a per-cell basis was approximately the same at all depths. Half-saturation constants (Km ) decreased with depth, indicating peptidases that functioned more efficiently at low substrate concentrations. Potential activities of extracellular peptidases acting on molecules that are enriched in degraded organic matter (d-phenylalanine and l-ornithine) increased relative to enzymes that act on l-phenylalanine, further suggesting microbial community adaptation to access degraded organic matter. Nineteen classes of predicted, exported peptidases were identified in genomic data from the same site, of which genes for class C25 (gingipain-like) peptidases represented more than 40% at each depth. Methionine aminopeptidases, zinc carboxypeptidases, and class S24-like peptidases, which are involved in single-stranded-DNA repair, were also abundant. These results suggest a subsurface heterotrophic microbial community that primarily accesses low-quality detrital organic matter via a diverse suite of well-adapted extracellular enzymes.IMPORTANCE Burial of organic carbon in marine and estuarine sediments represents a long-term sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. Globally, ∼40% of organic carbon burial occurs in anoxic estuaries and deltaic systems. However, the ultimate controls on the amount of organic matter that is buried in sediments, versus oxidized into CO2, are poorly constrained. In this study, we used a combination of enzyme assays and metagenomic analysis to identify how subsurface microbial communities catalyze the first step of proteinaceous organic carbon degradation. Our results show that microbial communities in deeper sediments are adapted to access molecules characteristic of degraded organic matter, suggesting that those heterotrophs are adapted to life in the subsurface.
Project description:The recently proposed candidatus order Altiarchaeales remains an uncultured archaeal lineage composed of genetically diverse, globally widespread organisms frequently observed in anoxic subsurface environments. In spite of 15 years of studies on the psychrophilic biofilm-producing Candidatus Altiarchaeum hamiconexum and its close relatives, very little is known about the phylogenetic and functional diversity of the widespread free-living marine members of this taxon. From methanogenic sediments in the White Oak River Estuary, NC, USA, we sequenced a single cell amplified genome (SAG), WOR_SM1_SCG, and used it to identify and refine two high-quality genomes from metagenomes, WOR_SM1_79 and WOR_SM1_86-2, from the same site. These three genomic reconstructions form a monophyletic group, which also includes three previously published genomes from metagenomes from terrestrial springs and a SAG from Sakinaw Lake in a group previously designated as pMC2A384. A synapomorphic mutation in the Altiarchaeales tRNA synthetase ? subunit, pheT, caused the protein to be encoded as two subunits at non-adjacent loci. Consistent with the terrestrial spring clades, our estuarine genomes contained a near-complete autotrophic metabolism, H2 or CO as potential electron donors, a reductive acetyl-CoA pathway for carbon fixation, and methylotroph-like NADP(H)-dependent dehydrogenase. Phylogenies based on 16S rRNA genes and concatenated conserved proteins identified two distinct sub-clades of Altiarchaeales, Alti-1 populated by organisms from actively flowing springs, and Alti-2 which was more widespread, diverse, and not associated with visible mats. The core Alti-1 genome suggested Alti-1 is adapted for the stream environment with lipopolysaccharide production capacity and extracellular hami structures. The core Alti-2 genome suggested members of this clade are free-living with distinct mechanisms for energy maintenance, motility, osmoregulation, and sulfur redox reactions. These data suggested that the hamus structures found in Candidatus Altiarchaeum hamiconexum are not present outside of stream-adapted Altiarchaeales. Homologs to a Na(+) transporter and membrane bound coenzyme A disulfide reductase that were unique to the brackish sediment Alti-2 genomes, could indicate adaptations to the estuarine, sulfur-rich environment.