Posts Tagged 'prokaryotes'

Effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on microflora community composition in the digestive tract of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16s RNA gene sequencing

Ocean acidification and microplastic pollution is a global environmental threat, this research evaluated the effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on mussel digestive tract microbial community. The 16S rRNA gene was sequenced to characterize the flora. Species diversity in the samples was assessed by clustering valid tags on 97% similarity. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were the three most abundant genera in the four groups, with Bacteroidetes showing the highest diversity. However, no differences in flora structure were evident under various treatments. Phylogenetic relationship analysis revealed Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes had the highest OTU diversity. The weighted UniFrac distance, principal coordinate analysis (PCoA), unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) cluster tree and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) evaluation results for all samples also showed that changes in pH and microplastics concentration did not significantly affect the microbial community structure in the mussel digestive tract. The results presented the no significant effects of ocean acidification and microplastics intake on mussel intestinal diversity.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification and microplastics on microflora community composition in the digestive tract of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16s RNA gene sequencing’

Ocean acidification alters bacterial communities on marine plastic debris


  • Plastic will act as a novel ecological habitat for microbial communities.
  • Plastics harbour taxonomically distinct microbial communities (“Plastisphere”).
  • Ocean acidification greatly influences the Plastisphere community composition.


The increasing quantity of plastic waste in the ocean is providing a growing and more widespread novel habitat for microbes. Plastics have taxonomically distinct microbial communities (termed the ‘Plastisphere’) and can raft these unique communities over great distances. In order to understand the Plastisphere properly it will be important to work out how major ocean changes (such as warming, acidification and deoxygenation) are shaping microbial communities on waste plastics in marine environments. Here, we show that common plastic drinking bottles rapidly become colonized by novel biofilm-forming bacterial communities, and that ocean acidification greatly influences the composition of plastic biofilm assemblages. We highlight the potential implications of this community shift in a coastal community exposed to enriched CO2 conditions.

Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification alters bacterial communities on marine plastic debris’

Acidification decreases microbial community diversity in the Salish Sea, a region with naturally high pCO2

Most literature exploring the biological effects of ocean acidification (OA) has focused on macroscopic organisms and far less is known about how marine microbial communities will respond. Studies of OA and microbial community composition and diversity have examined communities from a limited number of ocean regions where the ambient pH is near or above the global average. At San Juan Island (Salish Sea), a region that experiences naturally low pH (average = 7.8), the picoplankton (cell diameter is 0.2–2μm) community was predicted to show no response to experimental acidification in a three-week mesocosm experiment. Filtered seawater mesocosms were maintained via semicontinuous culturing. Three control mesocosms were maintained at pH 8.05 and three acidified mesocosms were maintained at pH 7.60. Total bacteria was quantified daily with a flow cytometer. Microbial communities were sampled every two days via filtration followed by DNA extraction, 16S rRNA amplification, and MiSeq sequencing. There was no significant difference in total bacteria between pH treatments throughout the experiment. Acidification significantly reduced Shannon’s diversity over time. During the final week of the experiment, acidification resulted in a significant decrease in Shannon’s diversity, Faith’s phylogenetic distance, and Pielous’s Evenness. ANCOM results revealed four bacterial ASVs (amplicon sequence variants), in families Flavobaceriaceae and Hyphomonadaceae that significantly decreased in relative frequency under acidification and two bacterial ASVs, in families Flavobacteriaceae and Alteromonadaceae, that significantly increased under acidification. This is the first OA study on the microbial community of the Salish Sea, a nutrient rich, low pH region, and the first of its kind to report a decrease in both picoplankton richness and evenness with acidification. These findings demonstrate that marine microbial communities that naturally experience acidic conditions are still sensitive to acidification.

Continue reading ‘Acidification decreases microbial community diversity in the Salish Sea, a region with naturally high pCO2’

Simulated future conditions of ocean warming and acidification disrupt the microbiome of the calcifying foraminifera Marginopora vertebralis across life stages

Foraminifera host diverse microbial communities that can shift in response to changing environmental conditions. To characterize climate change impacts on the foraminifera microbiome across life stages, we exposed adult Marginopora vertebralis (Large Benthic Foraminifera) to pCO2 and temperature scenarios representing present day, 2050 and 2100 levels and raised juveniles under present day and 2050 conditions. While treatment condition had no significant effect on the seawater microbial communities, exposure to future scenarios significantly altered both adult and juvenile microbiomes. In adults, divergence between present day and 2050 or 2100 conditions was primarily driven by a reduced relative abundance of Oxyphotobacteria under elevated temperature and pCO2. In juveniles, the microbial shift predominantly resulted from changes in the proportion of Proteobacteria. Indicator species analysis identified numerous treatment‐specific indicator taxa, most of which were indicative of present day conditions. Oxyphotobacteria, previously reported as putative symbionts of foraminifera, were indicative of present day and 2050 conditions in adults, but of present day conditions only in juveniles. Overall, we show that the sensitivity of the M. vertebralis microbiome to climate change scenarios extends to both life stages and primarily correlates with declines in Oxyphotobacteria and shifts in Proteobacteria under elevated temperature and pCO2.

Continue reading ‘Simulated future conditions of ocean warming and acidification disrupt the microbiome of the calcifying foraminifera Marginopora vertebralis across life stages’

Changing carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of organic-matter export under ocean acidification

Ocean acidification (OA) will affect marine biotas from the organism to the ecosystem level. Yet, the consequences for the biological carbon pump and thereby the oceanic sink for atmospheric CO2 are still unclear. Here we show that OA considerably alters the C/N ratio of organic-matter export (C/Nexport), a key factor determining efficiency of the biological pump. By synthesizing sediment-trap data from in situ mesocosm studies in different marine biomes, we find distinct but highly variable impacts of OA on C/Nexport, reaching up to a 20% increase/decrease under partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) conditions projected for 2100. These changes are driven by pCO2 effects on a variety of plankton taxa and corresponding shifts in food-web structure. Notably, our findings suggest a pivotal role of heterotrophic processes in controlling the response of C/Nexport to OA, thus contradicting the paradigm of primary producers as the principal driver of biogeochemical responses to ocean change.

Continue reading ‘Changing carbon-to-nitrogen ratios of organic-matter export under ocean acidification’

A new “business as usual” climate scenario and the stress response of the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa

The climate change related decline of shallow (<30 m) coral reef ecosystems has been driven by the mortality of scleractinian corals caused primarily by the phenomenon known as “coral bleaching.” But despite pervasive phase shifts and macroalgal dominance on many coral reefs, some coral species have persisted. One of those species is Montastraea cavernosa which has been categorized as resilient to a range of biotic and abiotic stressors. In order to understand the mechanism(s) of resistance in this coral, we present the results of a thermal stress and ocean acidification (OA) experiment on M. cavernosa, both its brown and orange color morphs, representing conditions predicted by the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 6.0 scenario in the year 2100. We assessed the community response of the prokaryotic microbiome, the photophysiological response of the endosymbiotic Symbiodiniaceae and the molecular responses of critical pathways in the host by quantifying transcript abundances of genes encoding fluorescent proteins, heat shock proteins, antioxidant enzymes and regulators of apoptosis. After a 12 d acclimatization experiment, no visible bleaching was observed in any treatment, and the excitation pressure on photosystem II of the symbiotic Symbiodiniaceae showed no effects of the independent or interactive effects of thermal stress and OA, while only minor, but significant, changes in the prokaryotic microbiome were observed when exposed to RCP 6.0 predicted OA conditions. At the end of the experiment, the host heat shock protein 90 showed an increase in transcript abundance under the combined effects of thermal stress and OA compared to high temperatures alone, but these treatment groups were not significantly different from treatments under normal temperatures. While Bax, an activator of apoptosis, was significantly higher under thermal stress alone compared to control samples. Taken together, M. cavernosa, exhibits ecological stability over time and this may be based on its physiological persistence, resistance and resilience when experimentally exposed to the ecologically realistic RCP 6.0 climate model predictions.

Continue reading ‘A new “business as usual” climate scenario and the stress response of the Caribbean coral Montastraea cavernosa’

Long-term m5C methylome dynamics parallel phenotypic adaptation in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium

A major challenge in modern biology is understanding how the effects of short-term biological responses influence long-term evolutionary adaptation, defined as a genetically determined increase in fitness to novel environments. This is particularly important in globally important microbes experiencing rapid global change, due to their influence on food webs, biogeochemical cycles, and climate. Epigenetic modifications like methylation have been demonstrated to influence short-term plastic responses, which ultimately impact long-term adaptive responses to environmental change. However, there remains a paucity of empirical research examining long-term methylation dynamics during environmental adaptation in non-model, ecologically important microbes. Here, we show the first empirical evidence in a marine prokaryote for long-term m5C methylome modifications correlated with phenotypic adaptation to CO2, using a 7-year evolution experiment (1000+ generations) with the biogeochemically-important marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium. We identify m5C methylated sites that rapidly changed in response to high (750 µatm) CO2 exposure and were maintained for at least 4.5 years of CO2 selection. After 7 years of CO2 selection, however, m5C methylation levels that initially responded to high-CO2 returned to ancestral, ambient CO2 levels. Concurrently, high-CO2 adapted growth and N2 fixation rates remained significantly higher than those of ambient CO2 adapted cell lines irrespective of CO2 concentration, a trend consistent with genetic assimilation theory. These data demonstrate the maintenance of CO2-responsive m5C methylation for 4.5 years alongside phenotypic adaptation before returning to ancestral methylation levels. These observations in a globally distributed marine prokaryote provide critical evolutionary insights into biogeochemically important traits under global change.

Continue reading ‘Long-term m5C methylome dynamics parallel phenotypic adaptation in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium’

Response of bacterial communities in Barents Sea sediments in case of a potential CO2 leakage from carbon reservoirs


  • Simulation of real conditions of a CCS site are essentials for environmental risk assessments.

  • Marine bacteria may adapt to a new situation in case of acidification event for a short time.

  • Marine bacteria community is altered in case of a CO2 leakage after 3 weeks in long-term simulation.

  • Results did not show a potential recovery of marine bacteria when CO2 was stopped within the monitored period.


Carbon capture and storage sites in Barents Sea shelf are currently in progress as part of climate change mitigation activities. However environmental impacts of a possible CO2 seepage on bacterial community are lacking knowledge. This work addressed potential consequences on bacterial communities from Snøvit region in Barents Sea sediments. Long-term experiment (92 days) was carried out mimicking realistic conditions of pressure (∼30 bars) using the unique hyperbaric chamber (Karl Erik TiTank). The experiment was divided in three stages: i) 21 days of no CO2, ii) 50 days of simulation of carbon dioxide leakage (depletion of pH to 7.0) and iii) 14 days emulating a leakage cessation. Results suggested that bacterial communities can adapt to a CO2 leakage in short term. However, bacteria showed negative effects in terms of activity, community structure, and number of cells after long term CO2 exposure. After CO2 leakage cessation, bacterial communities did not show a significant recovery. These findings highlighted that, even though marine bacteria showed adaptation to the new conditions (acidified environment), in case of a small but continuous CO2 leakage marine bacteria might not be recovered upon pre-exposure status.

    Continue reading ‘Response of bacterial communities in Barents Sea sediments in case of a potential CO2 leakage from carbon reservoirs’

    Projected expansion of Trichodesmium’s geographical distribution and increase in growth potential in response to climate change

    Estimates of marine N2 fixation range from 52 to 73 Tg N/year, of which we calculate up to 84% is from Trichodesmium based on previous measurements of nifH gene abundance and our new model of Trichodesmium growth. Here, we assess the likely effects of four major climate change‐related abiotic factors on the spatiotemporal distribution and growth potential of Trichodesmium for the last glacial maximum (LGM), the present (2006–2015) and the end of this century (2100) by mapping our model of Trichodesmium growth onto inferred global surface ocean fields of pCO2, temperature, light and Fe. We conclude that growth rate was severely limited by low pCO2 at the LGM, that current pCO2 levels do not significantly limit Trichodesmium growth and thus, the potential for enhanced growth from future increases in CO2 is small. We also found that the area of the ocean where sea surface temperatures (SST) are within Trichodesmium‘s thermal niche increased by 32% from the LGM to present, but further increases in SST due to continued global warming will reduce this area by 9%. However, the range reduction at the equator is likely to be offset by enhanced growth associated with expansion of regions with optimal or near optimal Fe and light availability. Between now and 2100, the ocean area of optimal SST and irradiance is projected to increase by 7%, and the ocean area of optimal SST, irradiance and iron is projected to increase by 173%. Given the major contribution of this keystone species to annual N2 fixation and thus pelagic ecology, biogeochemistry and CO2 sequestration, the projected increase in the geographical range for optimal growth could provide a negative feedback to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    Continue reading ‘Projected expansion of Trichodesmium’s geographical distribution and increase in growth potential in response to climate change’

    Cross‐generational effects of climate change on the microbiome of a photosynthetic sponge

    Coral reefs are facing increasing pressure from rising seawater temperatures and ocean acidification. Sponges have been proposed as possible winners in the face of climate change; however, little is known about the mechanisms underpinning their predicted tolerance. Here we assessed whether microbiome‐mediated cross‐generational acclimatization could enable the photosynthetic sponge Carteriospongia foliascens to survive under future climate scenarios. To achieve this, we first established the potential for vertical (cross‐generational) transmission of symbionts. Sixty‐four amplicon sequence variants accounting for >90% of the total C. foliascens microbial community were present across adult, larval and juvenile life stages, showing that a large proportion of the microbiome is vertically acquired and maintained. When C. foliascens were exposed to climate scenarios projected for 2050 and 2100, the host remained visibly unaffected (i.e. no necrosis/bleaching) and the overall microbiome was not significantly different amongst treatments in adult tissue, the respective larvae or recruits transplanted amongst climate treatments. However, indicator species analysis revealed that parental exposure to future climate scenarios altered the presence and abundance of a small suite of microbial taxa in the recruits, thereby revealing the potential for microbiome‐mediated cross‐generational acclimatization through both symbiont shuffling and symbiont switching within a vertically acquired microbiome.

    Continue reading ‘Cross‐generational effects of climate change on the microbiome of a photosynthetic sponge’

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    Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

    OUP book