Project description:The nature of species distribution boundaries is a key subject in ecology and evolution. Edge populations are potentially more exposed to climate-related environmental pressures. Despite research efforts, little is known about variability in fitness-related traits in leading (i.e., colder, high latitude) versus trailing (i.e., warmer, low latitude) edge populations. We tested whether the resilience, i.e. the resistance and recovery, of key traits differs between a distributional cold (Greenland) and warm (Portugal) range edge population of two foundation marine macrophytes, the intertidal macroalga Fucus vesiculosus and the subtidal seagrass Zostera marina. The resistance and recovery of edge populations to elevated seawater temperatures was compared under common experimental conditions using photosynthetic efficiency and expression of heat shock proteins (HSP). Cold and warm edge populations differed in their response, but this was species specific. The warm edge population of F. vesiculosus showed higher thermal resistance and recovery whereas the cold leading edge was less tolerant. The opposite was observed in Z. marina, with reduced recovery at the warm edge, while the cold edge was not markedly affected by warming. Our results confirm that differentiation of thermal stress responses can occur between leading and trailing edges, but such responses depend on local population traits and are thus not predictable just based on thermal pressures.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4><i>Zostera marina</i> (also known as eelgrass) is a foundation species in coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide and is a model for studies of seagrasses (a paraphyletic group in the order <i>Alismatales</i>) that include all the known fully submerged marine angiosperms. In recent years, there has been a growing appreciation of the potential importance of the microbial communities (i.e., microbiomes) associated with various plant species. Here we report a study of variation in <i>Z. marina</i> microbiomes from a field site in Bodega Bay, CA.<h4>Methods</h4>We characterized and then compared the microbial communities of root, leaf and sediment samples (using 16S ribosomal RNA gene PCR and sequencing) and associated environmental parameters from the inside, edge and outside of a single subtidal <i>Z. marina</i> patch. Multiple comparative approaches were used to examine associations between microbiome features (e.g., diversity, taxonomic composition) and environmental parameters and to compare sample types and sites.<h4>Results</h4>Microbial communities differed significantly between sample types (root, leaf and sediment) and in sediments from different sites (inside, edge, outside). Carbon:Nitrogen ratio and eelgrass density were both significantly correlated to sediment community composition. Enrichment of certain taxonomic groups in each sample type was detected and analyzed in regard to possible functional implications (especially regarding sulfur metabolism).<h4>Discussion</h4>Our results are mostly consistent with prior work on seagrass associated microbiomes with a few differences and additional findings. From a functional point of view, the most significant finding is that many of the taxa that differ significantly between sample types and sites are closely related to ones commonly associated with various aspects of sulfur and nitrogen metabolism. Though not a traditional model organism, we believe that <i>Z. marina</i> can become a model for studies of marine plant-microbiome interactions.
Project description:Phytophthora species are potent pathogens that can devastate terrestrial plants, causing billions of dollars of damage yearly to agricultural crops and harming fragile ecosystems worldwide. Yet, virtually nothing is known about the distribution and pathogenicity of their marine relatives. This is surprising, as marine plants form vital habitats in coastal zones worldwide (i.e. mangrove forests, salt marshes, seagrass beds), and disease may be an important bottleneck for the conservation and restoration of these rapidly declining ecosystems. We are the first to report on widespread infection of Phytophthora and Halophytophthora species on a common seagrass species, Zostera marina (eelgrass), across the northern Atlantic and Mediterranean. In addition, we tested the effects of Halophytophthora sp. Zostera and Phytophthora gemini on Z. marina seed germination in a full-factorial laboratory experiment under various environmental conditions. Results suggest that Phytophthora species are widespread as we found these oomycetes in eelgrass beds in six countries across the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Infection by Halophytophthora sp. Zostera, P. gemini, or both, strongly affected sexual reproduction by reducing seed germination sixfold. Our findings have important implications for seagrass ecology, because these putative pathogens probably negatively affect ecosystem functioning, as well as current restoration and conservation efforts.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The seagrass Zostera marina is a monocotyledonous angiosperm belonging to a polyphyletic group of plants that can live submerged in marine habitats. Zostera marina L. is one of the most common seagrasses and is considered a cornerstone of marine plant molecular ecology research and comparative studies. However, the mechanisms underlying its adaptation to the marine environment still remain poorly understood due to limited transcriptomic and genomic data.<h4>Principal findings</h4>Here we explored the transcriptome of Z. marina leaves under different environmental conditions using Illumina paired-end sequencing. Approximately 55 million sequencing reads were obtained, representing 58,457 transcripts that correspond to 24,216 unigenes. A total of 14,389 (59.41%) unigenes were annotated by blast searches against the NCBI non-redundant protein database. 45.18% and 46.91% of the unigenes had significant similarity with proteins in the Swiss-Prot database and Pfam database, respectively. Among these, 13,897 unigenes were assigned to 57 Gene Ontology (GO) terms and 4,745 unigenes were identified and mapped to 233 pathways via functional annotation against the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway database (KEGG). We compared the orthologous gene family of the Z. marina transcriptome to Oryza sativa and Pyropia yezoensis and 11,667 orthologous gene families are specific to Z. marina. Furthermore, we identified the photoreceptors sensing red/far-red light and blue light. Also, we identified a large number of genes that are involved in ion transporters and channels including Na+ efflux, K+ uptake, Cl- channels, and H+ pumping.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our study contains an extensive sequencing and gene-annotation analysis of Z. marina. This information represents a genetic resource for the discovery of genes related to light sensing and salt tolerance in this species. Our transcriptome can be further utilized in future studies on molecular adaptation to abiotic stress in Z. marina.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Seagrasses are important facilitator species in shallow, soft-bottom marine environments worldwide and, in many places, are threatened by coastal development and eutrophication. One narrow-leaved species (Zostera marina) and one wide-leaved species, variously designated as Z. marina, Z. pacifica or Z. asiatica, are found off the California Channel Islands and adjacent California-Mexico coast. The aim of the present study was to confirm species identification genetically and to link patterns of genetic diversity, connectivity and hybridization among and within the populations with historical sea levels (Ice Age) or the contemporary environment. METHODS:Samples (n = 11-100) were collected from 28 sites off five California Channel Islands and six sites off the adjacent coast of southern California and Baja California, Mexico. DNA polymorphisms of the rDNA-ITS (internal transcribed spacer) cistron (nuclear), the matK intron (chloroplast) and nine microsatellite loci (nuclear) were examined in a population genetic and phylogeographic context. KEY RESULTS:All wide-leaved individuals were Z. pacifica, whereas narrow-leaved forms were Z. marina. Microsatellite genotypes were consistent with hybridization between the two species in three populations. The present distribution of Z. pacifica follows a glacial age land mass rather than present oceanographic regimes, but no link was observed between the present distribution of Z. marina and past or present environments. Island populations of Z. marina often were clonal and characterized by low genotypic diversity compared with populations along the Baja California coast. The high level of clonal connectivity around Santa Catalina Island indicated the importance of dispersal and subsequent re-establishment of vegetative fragments. CONCLUSIONS:The pristine environmental conditions of offshore islands do not guarantee maximum genetic diversity. Future restoration and transplantation efforts of seagrasses must recognize cryptic species and consider the degree of both genetic and genotypic variation in candidate donor populations.
Project description:Zostera marina (eelgrass) is a marine foundation species with key ecological roles in coastal habitats. Its bacterial microbiota has been well studied, but very little is known about its mycobiome. In this study, we have isolated and identified 13 fungal strains, dominated by Penicillium species (10 strains), from the leaf and the root rhizosphere of Baltic Z. marina. The organic extracts of the fungi that were cultured by an OSMAC (One-Strain-Many-Compounds) regime using five liquid culture media under both static and shaking conditions were investigated for their chemical and bioactivity profiles. All extracts showed strong anti-quorum sensing activity, and the majority of the Penicillium extracts displayed antimicrobial or anti-biofilm activity against Gram-negative environmental marine and human pathogens. HPLC-DAD-MS-based rapid metabolome analyses of the extracts indicated the high influence of culture conditions on the secondary metabolite (SM) profiles. Among 69 compounds detected in all Penicillium sp. extracts, 46 were successfully dereplicated. Analysis of SM relatedness in culture conditions by Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) revealed generally low similarity and showed a strong effect of medium selection on chemical profiles of Penicillium sp. This is the first study assessing both the metabolite and bioactivity profile of the fungi associated with Baltic eelgrass Z. marina.
Project description:The genome sequences of two novel monopartite RNA viruses were identified in a common eelgrass (Zostera marina) transcriptome dataset. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analyses revealed that these two novel viruses belong to the genus Amalgavirus in the family Amalgaviridae. They were named Zostera marina amalgavirus 1 (ZmAV1) and Zostera marina amalgavirus 2 (ZmAV2). Genomes of both ZmAV1 and ZmAV2 contain two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs). ORF1 encodes a putative replication factory matrix-like protein, while ORF2 encodes a RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domain. The fusion protein (ORF1+2) of ORF1 and ORF2, which mediates RNA replication, was produced using the +1 programmed ribosomal frameshifting (PRF) mechanism. The +1 PRF motif sequence, UUU_CGN, which is highly conserved among known amalgaviruses, was also found in ZmAV1 and ZmAV2. Multiple sequence alignment of the ORF1+2 fusion proteins from 24 amalgaviruses revealed that +1 PRF occurred only at three different positions within the 13-amino acid-long segment, which was surrounded by highly conserved regions on both sides. This suggested that the +1 PRF may be constrained by the structure of fusion proteins. Genome sequences of ZmAV1 and ZmAV2, which are the first viruses to be identified in common eelgrass, will serve as useful resources for studying evolution and diversity of amalgaviruses.