Posts Tagged 'prokaryotes'

Acidification and warming affect prominent bacteria in two seasonal phytoplankton bloom mesocosms

In contrast to clear stimulatory effects of rising temperature, recent studies of the effects of CO2 on planktonic bacteria have reported conflicting results. To better understand the potential impact of predicted climate scenarios on the development and performance of bacterial communities, we performed bifactorial mesocosm experiments (pCO2 and temperature) with Baltic Sea water, during a diatom dominated bloom in autumn and a mixed phytoplankton bloom in summer. The development of bacterial community composition (BCC) followed well-known algal bloom dynamics. A principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) of bacterial OTUs (operational taxonomic units) revealed that phytoplankton succession and temperature were the major variables structuring the bacterial community whereas the impact of pCO2 was weak. Prokaryotic abundance and carbon production, and organic matter concentration and composition were partly affected by temperature but not by increased pCO2. However, pCO2 did have significant and potentially direct effects on the relative abundance of several dominant OTUs; in some cases, these effects were accompanied by an antagonistic impact of temperature. Our results suggest the necessity of high-resolution BCC analyses and statistical analyses at the OTU level to detect the strong impact of CO2 on specific bacterial groups, which in turn might also influence specific organic matter degradation processes.

Continue reading ‘Acidification and warming affect prominent bacteria in two seasonal phytoplankton bloom mesocosms’

Iron availability modulates the effects of future CO2 levels within the marine planktonic food web

Ocean acidification (OA) due to increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions is affecting marine ecosystems at an unprecedented rate, altering biogeochemical cycles. Direct empirical studies on natural communities are required to analyse the interactive effects of multiple stressors while spanning multiple trophic levels. We investigated the interactive effects of changes in CO2 and iron availability on functional plankton groups. We used mesocosms manipulating the carbonate system from the start to achieve present (low concentration, LC) and predicted future pCO2 levels (high concentration, HC). To manipulate dissolved iron (dFe), half of the mesocosms were amended with 70 nM (final concentration) of the siderophore desferoxamine B (DFB) on Day 7 (+DFB and -DFB treatments). Manipulation of both CO2 and DFB increased dFe compared to the control. During the 22 experimental days, the plankton community structure showed 2 distinct phases. In phase 1 (Days 1-10), only bacterioplankton abundances increased at elevated pCO2. In contrast, a strong community response was evident in phase 2 (Days 11-22) due to DFB addition. Biomass of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi increased massively at LC+DFB. HC negatively affected E. huxleyi and Synechococcus sp., and high dFe (+DFB) had a positive effect on both. The rest of the plankton community was unaffected by the treatments. Increased dFe partially mitigated the negative effect of HC imposed on the coccolithophores, indicating that E. huxleyi was able to acclimate better to OA. This physiological iron-mediated acclimation can diminish the deleterious effects of OA on carbon export and the rain ratio, thus affecting food web dynamics and future ecosystem functioning.

Continue reading ‘Iron availability modulates the effects of future CO2 levels within the marine planktonic food web’

Using prokaryotes for carbon capture storage

Geological storage of CO2 is a fast-developing technology that can mitigate rising carbon emissions. However, there are environmental concerns with the long-term storage and implications of a leak from a carbon capture storage (CCS) site. Traditional monitoring lacks clear protocols and relies heavily on physical methods. Here, we discuss the potential of biotechnology, focusing on microbes with a natural ability to utilize and assimilate CO2 through different metabolic pathways. We propose the use of natural microbial communities for CCS monitoring and CO2 utilization, and, with examples, demonstrate how synthetic biology may maximize CO2 uptake within and above storage sites. An integrated physical and biological approach, combined with metagenomics data and biotechnological advances, will enhance CO2 sequestration and prevent large-scale leakages.

Trends

Microorganisms have the ability to respond quickly to environmental changes and to bind CO2, potentially removing it from the surrounding environment.

High-throughput sequencing can be used to identify the microbial metagenomic fingerprint, which can be used to develop simplified, efficient genetic methods to monitor CCS sites.

CCS monitoring would be most effective with a multidisciplinary monitoring program, combining geology, biogeochemistry, physics, microbiology, molecular biology, and genomics.

The advances in our knowledge in prokaryotic genomics, metabolic pathways, microbial communities, and the potential to engineer CO2 binding properties in microbes provide opportunities for transforming CCS sites into bioreactors for value-added chemicals.

Continue reading ‘Using prokaryotes for carbon capture storage’

Special edition of Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science – “Ocean acidification in the Mediterranean Sea: pelagic mesocosm experiments”

The topic of ocean acidification has received extensive attention in a recently published special edition of the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Volume 186, Part A presents a series of 12 research papers focusing on pelagic mesocosm experiments conducted in the Mediterranean Sea in 2012 and 2013. Plankton plays a key role in the global carbon cycle. It is therefore important to project the evolution of plankton community structure and function in a future high-CO2 world. Several results from experiments conducted at the community level have shown increased rates of community primary production and shifts in community composition as a function of increasing pCO2. However, the great majority of these – experiments have been performed under high natural or nutrient-enriched conditions and very few data are available in areas with naturally low levels of nutrient and chlorophyll i.e. oligotrophic areas such as the Mediterranean Sea, although they represent a large and expanding part of the ocean surface. In the frame of the European Mediterranean Sea Acidification in a changing climate project (MedSeA; http://medsea-project.eu), large-scale in situ mesocosms (9 x 50 m3, 12 m deep) have been used to quantify the potential effects of CO2 enrichment in two coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea: the bay of Calvi (Corsica, France) in June/July 2012 and the bay of Villefranche (France) in February/March 2013. These two experiments gathered the expertise of more than 25 scientists from 7 institutes and 6 countries (France, Greece, Spain, UK, Italy, Belgium, US).

Continue reading ‘Special edition of Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science – “Ocean acidification in the Mediterranean Sea: pelagic mesocosm experiments”’

A possible CO2 leakage event: Can the marine microbial community be recovered?

Bacterial communities have been studied to a much lesser degree than macrofauna in the case of a CO2 release. The resistance capacity of marine bacteria is well known, but their possible responses and their ability to recover after a CO2 release has not been investigated. Therefore, this work evaluated the responses of a marine bacterial community after 96 h of CO2 exposure under diverse pH treatments (7.8 as control without CO2, 7.0, 6.5, and 6.0) and 24 h after CO2 exposure. Results showed that the respiration activity and the diversity of the community were affected in all pH treatments. However, after 24 h without CO2 enrichment, the respiration activity and diversity increased, showing a partial recovery. Consequently, bacterial responses have the potential to be used as a monitoring tool for risk assessment related to carbon capture and storage techniques or in any similar CO2 enrichment situations.

Continue reading ‘A possible CO2 leakage event: Can the marine microbial community be recovered?’

The impact of electrogenic sulfur oxidation on the biogeochemistry of coastal sediments: A field study

Electro-active sediments distinguish themselves from other sedimentary environments by the presence of microbially induced electrical currents in the surface layer of the sediment. The electron transport is generated by metabolic activity of long filamentous cable bacteria, in a process referred to as electrogenic sulfur oxidation (e-SOx). Laboratory experiments have shown that e-SOx exerts a large impact on the sediment geochemistry, but its influence on the in situ geochemistry of marine sediments has not been previously investigated. Here, we document the biogeochemical cycling associated with e-SOx in a cohesive coastal sediment in the North Sea (Station 130, Belgian Coastal Zone) during three campaigns (January, March and May 2014). Fluorescence in situ hybridization showed that cable bacteria were present in high densities throughout the sampling period, and that filaments penetrated up to 7 cm deep in the sediment, which is substantially deeper than previously recorded. High resolution microsensor profiling (pH, H2S and O2) revealed the typical geochemical fingerprint of e-SOx, with a wide separation (up to 4.8 cm) between the depth of oxygen penetration and the depth of sulfide appearance. The metabolic activity of cable bacteria induced a current density of 25–32 mA m−2 and created an electrical field of 12–17 mV m−1 in the upper centimeters of the sediment. This electrical field created an ionic drift, which strongly affected the depth profiles and fluxes of major cations (Ca2+, Fe2+) and anions (SO42−) in the pore water. The strong acidification of the pore water at depth resulted in the dissolution of calcium carbonates and iron sulfides, thus leading to a strong accumulation of iron, calcium and manganese in the pore water. While sulfate accumulated in the upper centimeters, no significant effect of e-SOx was found on ammonium, phosphate and silicate depth profiles. Overall, our results demonstrate that cable bacteria can strongly modulate the sedimentary biogeochemical cycling under in situ conditions.

Continue reading ‘The impact of electrogenic sulfur oxidation on the biogeochemistry of coastal sediments: A field study’

Impact of environmental factors on bacterioplankton communities

Aquatic bacteria are main drivers of biogeochemical cycles and contribute predominantly to organic matter and nutrient recycling. As a high biodiversity is assumed to stabilize ecosystem functioning, it is necessary to understand the bacterial community dynamics and their structuring factors. It is known that different taxa are dominant across different habitats and seasons. This indicates an occurrence of species sorting by community structuring environmental factors. A first attempt for the understanding of bacterial distribution is to test for a correlation between microbial composition and measured environmental variables. In order to get further insights into the impact of environmental factors on bacterial communities, this thesis assessed the influence of major structuring drivers by using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, bacterial bulk parameters and interdisciplinary approaches in laboratory experiments and field studies.

In a field study in the Benguela upwelling system, the influence of different levels of primary production and the planktonic succession on bacterial community composition and its development was investigated. Community analysis revealed a clustering of different microbial assemblages along aging upwelled water. This zonation was mainly driven by phytoplankton composition and abundance and the spatial differences were comparable with a temporal succession that occurs during phytoplankton blooms in temperate coastal waters. A dominance of Bacteroidetes and Gammaproteobacteria was observed during algal blooming and high abundance of “Pelagibacterales” was found in regions with low algal abundance. Overall, this study highlightes the strong impact of quality and quantity of phytoplankton and nutrients on the bacterial communities.

A laboratory experiment with Baltic Sea water was performed to better understand the potential impact of rising temperature and CO2 on planktonic bacteria. The development of the bacterial community composition was followed in bifactorial mesocosm experiments during a diatom bloom in autumn and a phytoplankton bloom in summer. The results confirmed that phytoplankton succession and temperature were the major variables structuring the bacterial community. The impact of CO2 on the broad community was weak but high-resolution community analyses revealed a strong effect on specific bacterial groups, which might play important roles in specific organic matter degradation processes.

The response of bacterial communities to a disturbance by a saline intrusion could be investigated during a major Baltic inflow event. Community structuring factors were dominated by mixing of the inflow water with the former bottom water. Although the inflow had a selecting effect on the bacterial community, some immigrated taxa showed increased potential activity and seem to profit from changing environmental conditions. These results suggest a potential impact of inflow events on bacterial functions and therefore on biogeochemical processes.

Altogether, the results confirm the strong structuring effects of environmental conditions on bacterial community composition. Furthermore, high-resolution sequencing enabled an identification of specific affected taxa, which in turn give first clues for the impact of the investigated factors on specific bacterial functions.

Continue reading ‘Impact of environmental factors on bacterioplankton communities’


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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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