Project description:Changes in ocean temperature and circulation patterns compounded by human activities are leading to oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) expansion with concomitant alteration in nutrient and climate active trace gas cycling. Here, we report the response of microbial eukaryote populations to seasonal changes in water column oxygen-deficiency using Saanich Inlet, a seasonally anoxic fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island British Columbia, as a model ecosystem. We combine small subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequencing approaches with multivariate statistical methods to reveal shifts in operational taxonomic units during successive stages of seasonal stratification and renewal. A meta-analysis is used to identify common and unique patterns of community composition between Saanich Inlet and the anoxic/sulfidic Cariaco Basin (Venezuela) and Framvaren Fjord (Norway) to show shared and unique responses of microbial eukaryotes to oxygen and sulfide in these three environments. Our analyses also reveal temporal fluctuations in rare populations of microbial eukaryotes, particularly anaerobic ciliates, that may be of significant importance to the biogeochemical cycling of methane in OMZs. Eukaryotic 18S rRNA gene sequences recovered from the Saanich Inlet water column on were deposited in Genbank under accession numbers HQ864863–HQ871151.
Project description:Marine oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) are widespread regions of the ocean that are currently expanding due to global warming. While inhospitable to most metazoans, OMZs are hotspots for microbial mediated biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur, contributing disproportionately to marine nitrogen loss and climate active trace gas production. Our current understanding of microbial community responses to OMZ expansion is limited by a lack of time-resolved data sets linking multi-omic sequence information (DNA, RNA, protein) to geochemical parameters and process rates. Here, we present six years of time-resolved multi-omic observations in Saanich Inlet, a seasonally anoxic fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada that undergoes recurring changes in water column oxygenation status. This compendium provides a unique multi-omic framework for studying microbial community responses to ocean deoxygenation along defined geochemical gradients in OMZ waters.
Project description:Microbes transform aqueous mercury (Hg) into methylmercury (MeHg), a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in terrestrial and marine food webs, with potential impacts on human health. This process requires the gene pair hgcAB, which encodes for proteins that actuate Hg methylation, and has been well described for anoxic environments. However, recent studies report potential MeHg formation in suboxic seawater, although the microorganisms involved remain poorly understood. In this study, we conducted large-scale multi-omic analyses to search for putative microbial Hg methylators along defined redox gradients in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia, a model natural ecosystem with previously measured Hg and MeHg concentration profiles. Analysis of gene expression profiles along the redoxcline identified several putative Hg methylating microbial groups, including Calditrichaeota, SAR324 and Marinimicrobia, with the last the most active based on hgc transcription levels. Marinimicrobia hgc genes were identified from multiple publicly available marine metagenomes, consistent with a potential key role in marine Hg methylation. Computational homology modelling predicts that Marinimicrobia HgcAB proteins contain the highly conserved amino acid sites and folding structures required for functional Hg methylation. Furthermore, a number of terminal oxidases from aerobic respiratory chains were associated with several putative novel Hg methylators. Our findings thus reveal potential novel marine Hg-methylating microorganisms with a greater oxygen tolerance and broader habitat range than previously recognized.
Project description:Extensive and expanding oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) exist at variable depths in coastal and open ocean waters. As oxygen levels decline, nutrients and energy are increasingly diverted away from higher trophic levels into microbial community metabolism, resulting in fixed nitrogen loss and production of climate active trace gases including nitrous oxide and methane. While ocean deoxygenation has been reported on a global scale, our understanding of OMZ biology and geochemistry is limited by a lack of time-resolved data sets. Here, we present a historical dataset of oxygen concentrations spanning fifty years and nine years of monthly geochemical time series observations in Saanich Inlet, a seasonally anoxic fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada that undergoes recurring changes in water column oxygenation status. This compendium provides a unique geochemical framework for evaluating long-term trends in biogeochemical cycling in OMZ waters.
Project description:Viral diversity and virus-host interactions in oxygen-starved regions of the ocean, also known as oxygen minimum zones (OMZs), remain relatively unexplored. Microbial community metabolism in OMZs alters nutrient and energy flow through marine food webs, resulting in biological nitrogen loss and greenhouse gas production. Thus, viruses infecting OMZ microbes have the potential to modulate community metabolism with resulting feedback on ecosystem function. Here, we describe viral communities inhabiting oxic surface (10 m) and oxygen-starved basin (200 m) waters of Saanich Inlet, a seasonally anoxic fjord on the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia using viral metagenomics and complete viral fosmid sequencing on samples collected between April 2007 and April 2010. Of 6459 open reading frames (ORFs) predicted across all 34 viral fosmids, 77.6% (n = 5010) had no homology to reference viral genomes. These fosmids recruited a higher proportion of viral metagenomic sequences from Saanich Inlet than from nearby northeastern subarctic Pacific Ocean (Line P) waters, indicating differences in the viral communities between coastal and open ocean locations. While functional annotations of fosmid ORFs were limited, recruitment to NCBI's non-redundant "nr" database and publicly available single-cell genomes identified putative viruses infecting marine thaumarchaeal and SUP05 proteobacteria to provide potential host linkages with relevance to coupled biogeochemical cycling processes in OMZ waters. Taken together, these results highlight the power of coupled analyses of multiple sequence data types, such as viral metagenomic and fosmid sequence data with prokaryotic single cell genomes, to chart viral diversity, elucidate genomic and ecological contexts for previously unclassifiable viral sequences, and identify novel host interactions in natural and engineered ecosystems.