Posts Tagged 'prokaryotes'

Carbonate chemistry in the microenvironment within cyanobacterial aggregates under present-day and future pCO2 levels

Photosynthesis and respiration cause distinct chemical microenvironments within cyanobacterial aggregates. Here, we used microsensors and a diffusion–reaction model to characterize gradients in carbonate chemistry and investigate how these are affected by ocean acidification in Baltic vs. Pacific aggregates (Nodularia and Dolichospermum vs. Trichodesmium). Microsensor measurements of O2 and pH were performed under in situ and expected future pCO2 levels on Nodularia and Dolichospermum aggregates collected in the Baltic Sea. Under in situ conditions, O2 and pH levels within the aggregates covered ranges of 80–175% air saturation and 7.7–9.4 in dark and light, respectively. Carbon uptake in the light was predicted to reduce HCO3 by 100–150 μmol L−1 and CO2 by 3–6 μmol L−1 in the aggregate center compared to outside, inducing strong CO2 depletion (down to 0.5 μmol L−1 CO2 remaining in the center) even when assuming that HCO3 covered 80–90% of carbon uptake. Under ocean acidification conditions, enhanced CO2 availability allowed for significantly lower activity of carbon concentrating mechanisms, including a reduction of the contribution of HCO3 to carbon uptake by up to a factor of 10. The magnification of proton gradients under elevated pCO2 that was predicted based on a lower buffer capacity was observed in measurements despite a concurrent decrease in photosynthetic activity. In summary, we provide a quantitative image of the inorganic carbon environment in cyanobacterial aggregates under present-day and expected future conditions, considering both the individual and combined effects of the chemical and biological processes that shape these environments.

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Response of microbial communities on culturing plates of post-settlement sea cucumbers to seawater acidification and warming

Seawater acidification and warming have been found to affect the early life of many marine organisms, but their effects on the microbial community in the environment related to the early development stage of aquaculture species have been rarely investigated. To understand how seawater acidification and warming impact the microbial community in aquaculture systems, we designed four microcosms to monitor and characterize the microbial composition on the corrugated plates in the Apostichopus japonicus culture tanks during its post-settlement stage. High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing revealed that the bacterial community composition varied significantly in different periods of incubation. The bacterial diversity and community composition were obviously changed by seawater acidification and warming in the early period and then tended to revert to the level of the control group. Acidification significantly increased the relative abundance of dominant families Rhodobacteraceae and Flavobacteriaceae in the early period, suggesting that microbiota could increase the abundance of predominant taxa to adapt to increased CO2 concentration and reconstruct a stable community structure. No interaction effect of both factors was observed in the combined group. Results reveal that the microbial communities on the corrugated plates in A. japonicus culture tank were affected in the early period of incubation, and could then acclimatize to the increased CO2 and temperature. This study provides new insights into the variation and adaptation responses of the microbiota in aquaculture systems to seawater acidification and warming.

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Effects of ocean acidification on resident and active microbial communities of Stylophora pistillata

Ocean warming and ocean acidification (OA) are direct consequences of climate change and affect coral reefs worldwide. While the effect of ocean warming manifests itself in increased frequency and severity of coral bleaching, the effects of ocean acidification on corals are less clear. In particular, long-term effects of OA on the bacterial communities associated with corals are largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of ocean acidification on the resident and active microbiome of long-term aquaria-maintained Stylophora pistillata colonies by assessing 16S rRNA gene diversity on the DNA (resident community) and RNA level (active community). Coral colony fragments of S. pistillata were kept in aquaria for 2 years at four different pCO2 levels ranging from current pH conditions to increased acidification scenarios (i.e., pH 7.2, 7.4, 7.8, and 8). We identified 154 bacterial families encompassing 2,047 taxa (OTUs) in the resident and 89 bacterial families including 1,659 OTUs in the active communities. Resident communities were dominated by members of Alteromonadaceae, Flavobacteriaceae, and Colwelliaceae, while active communities were dominated by families Cyclobacteriacea and Amoebophilaceae. Besides the overall differences between resident and active community composition, significant differences were seen between the control (pH 8) and the two lower pH treatments (7.2 and 7.4) in the active community, but only between pH 8 and 7.2 in the resident community. Our analyses revealed profound differences between the resident and active microbial communities, and we found that OA exerted stronger effects on the active community. Further, our results suggest that rDNA- and rRNA-based sequencing should be considered complementary tools to investigate the effects of environmental change on microbial assemblage structure and activity.

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Insignificant response of bacterioplankton community to elevated pCO2 during a short-term microcosm experiment in a subtropical eutrophic coastal ecosystem

Ocean acidification, as one of the major consequences of global climate change, markedly affects multiple ecosystem functions in disparate marine environments from coastal habitats to the deep ocean. Evaluation of the responses of marine microbial community to the increasing partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) is crucial to explore the microbe-driven biogeochemical processes in the future ocean. In this study, a microcosm incubation of eutrophic coastal water from Xiamen Bay under elevated pCO2 (about 1,000 μatm) and control (ambient air, about 380–410 μatm) conditions was conducted to investigate the effect of ocean acidification on the natural bacterioplankton community. During the 5-day incubation period, the chlorophyll a concentration and bacterioplankton abundance were not significantly affected by increased pCO2. Hierarchical clustering and non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis based on Bray-Curtis similarity among the bacterioplankton community derived from the 16S rRNA genes revealed an inconspicuous impact of elevated pCO2 on the bacterial community. During the incubation period, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria, and Epsilonbacteraeota were predominant in all microcosms. Despite the distinct temporal variation in the composition of the bacterioplankton community during the experimental period, statistical analyses showed that no significant difference was found on bacterioplankton taxa between elevated pCO2 and control, indicating that the bacterioplankton at the population-level were also insensitive to elevated pCO2. Our results therefore suggest that the bacterioplankton communities in the fluctuating and eutrophic coastal ecosystems appear to be adaptable to the short-term elevated pCO2.

Continue reading ‘Insignificant response of bacterioplankton community to elevated pCO2 during a short-term microcosm experiment in a subtropical eutrophic coastal ecosystem’

Composition and dominance of edible and inedible phytoplankton predict responses of Baltic Sea summer communities to elevated temperature and CO2

Previous studies with Baltic Sea phytoplankton combining elevated seawater temperature with CO2 revealed the importance of size trait-based analyses, in particular dividing the plankton into edible (>5 and <100 µm) and inedible (<5 and >100 µm) size classes for mesozoopankton grazers. While the edible phytoplankton responded predominantly negative to warming and the inedible group stayed unaffected or increased, independent from edibility most phytoplankton groups gained from CO2. Because the ratio between edible and inedible taxa changes profoundly over seasons, we investigated if community responses can be predicted according to the prevailing composition of edible and inedible groups. We experimentally explored the combined effects of elevated temperatures and CO2 concentrations on a late-summer Baltic Sea community. Total phytoplankton significantly increased in response to elevated CO2 in particular in combination with temperature, driven by a significant gain of the inedible <5 µm fraction and large filamentous cyanobacteria. Large flagellates disappeared. The edible group was low as usual in summer and decreased with both factors due to enhanced copepod grazing and overall decline of small flagellates. Our results emphasize that the responses of summer communities are complex, but can be predicted by the composition and dominance of size classes and groups.

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Highly variable and non-complex diazotroph communities in corals from ambient and high CO2 environments

The ecological success of corals depends on their association with microalgae and a diverse bacterial assemblage. Ocean acidification (OA), among other stressors, threatens to impair host-microbial metabolic interactions that underlie coral holobiont functioning. Volcanic CO2 seeps offer a unique opportunity to study the effects of OA in natural reef settings and provide insight into the long-term adaptations under a low pH environment. Here we compared nitrogen-fixing bacteria (diazotrophs) associated with four coral species (Pocillopora damicornisGalaxea fascicularisAcropora secale, and Porites rus) collected from CO2 seeps at Tutum Bay (Papua New Guinea) with those from a nearby ambient CO2 site using nifH amplicon sequencing to characterize the effects of seawater pH on bacterial communities and nitrogen cycling. Diazotroph communities were of generally low diversity across all coral species and for both sampling sites. Out of a total of 25 identified diazotroph taxa, 14 were associated with P. damicornis, of which 9 were shared across coral species. None of the diazotroph taxa, however, were consistently found across all coral species or across all samples within a species pointing to a high degree of diazotroph community variability. Rather, the majority of sampled colonies were dominated by one or two diazotroph taxa of high relative abundance. Pocillopora damicornis and Galaxea fascicularis that were sampled in both environments showed contrasting community assemblages between sites. In P. damicornis, Gammaproteobacteria and Cyanobacteria were prevalent under ambient pCO2, while a single member of the family Rhodobacteraceae was present at high relative abundance at the high pCO2 site. Conversely, in G. fascicularis diazotroph communities were indifferent between both sites. Diazotroph community changes in response to OA seem thus variable within as well as between host species, potentially arguing for haphazard diazotroph community assembly. This warrants further research into the underlying factors structuring diazotroph community assemblages and their functional role in the coral holobiont.

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Microbiomes of an oyster are shaped by metabolism and environment

Microbiomes can both influence and be influenced by metabolism, but this relationship remains unexplored for invertebrates. We examined the relationship between microbiome and metabolism in response to climate change using oysters as a model marine invertebrate. Oysters form economies and ecosystems across the globe, yet are vulnerable to climate change. Nine genetic lineages of the oyster Saccostrea glomerata were exposed to ambient and elevated temperature and PCO2 treatments. The metabolic rate (MR) and metabolic by-products of extracellular pH and CO2 were measured. The oyster-associated bacterial community in haemolymph was characterised using 16 s rRNA gene sequencing. We found a significant negative relationship between MR and bacterial richness. Bacterial community composition was also significantly influenced by MR, extracellular CO2 and extracellular pH. The effects of extracellular CO2 depended on genotype, and the effects of extracellular pH depended on CO2 and temperature treatments. Changes in MR aligned with a shift in the relative abundance of 152 Amplicon Sequencing Variants (ASVs), with 113 negatively correlated with MR. Some spirochaete ASVs showed positive relationships with MR. We have identified a clear relationship between host metabolism and the microbiome in oysters. Altering this relationship will likely have consequences for the 12 billion USD oyster economy.

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Impact of dust addition on the metabolism of Mediterranean plankton communities and carbon export under present and future conditions of pH and temperature (update)

Although atmospheric dust fluxes from arid as well as human-impacted areas represent a significant source of nutrients to surface waters of the Mediterranean Sea, studies focusing on the evolution of the metabolic balance of the plankton community following a dust deposition event are scarce, and none were conducted in the context of projected future levels of temperature and pH. Moreover, most of the experiments took place in coastal areas. In the framework of the PEACETIME project, three dust-addition perturbation experiments were conducted in 300 L tanks filled with surface seawater collected in the Tyrrhenian Sea (TYR), Ionian Sea (ION) and Algerian basin (FAST) on board the R/V Pourquoi Pas? in late spring 2017. For each experiment, six tanks were used to follow the evolution of chemical and biological stocks, biological activity and particle export. The impacts of a dust deposition event simulated at their surface were followed under present environmental conditions and under a realistic climate change scenario for 2100 (ca. +3 C and −0.3 pH units). The tested waters were all typical of stratified oligotrophic conditions encountered in the open Mediterranean Sea at this period of the year, with low rates of primary production and a metabolic balance towards net heterotrophy. The release of nutrients after dust seeding had very contrasting impacts on the metabolism of the communities, depending on the station investigated. At TYR, the release of new nutrients was followed by a negative impact on both particulate and dissolved 14C-based production rates, while heterotrophic bacterial production strongly increased, driving the community to an even more heterotrophic state. At ION and FAST, the efficiency of organic matter export due to mineral/organic aggregation processes was lower than at TYR and likely related to a lower quantity/age of dissolved organic matter present at the time of the seeding and a smaller production of DOM following dust addition. This was also reflected by lower initial concentrations in transparent exopolymer particles (TEPs) and a lower increase in TEP concentrations following the dust addition, as compared to TYR. At ION and FAST, both the autotrophic and heterotrophic community benefited from dust addition, with a stronger relative increase in autotrophic processes observed at FAST. Our study showed that the potential positive impact of dust deposition on primary production depends on the initial composition and metabolic state of the investigated community. This impact is constrained by the quantity of nutrients added in order to sustain both the fast response of heterotrophic prokaryotes and the delayed one of primary producers. Finally, under future environmental conditions, heterotrophic metabolism was overall more impacted than primary production, with the consequence that all integrated net community production rates decreased with no detectable impact on carbon export, therefore reducing the capacity of surface waters to sequester anthropogenic CO2.

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Diel metabolism of Yellow Sea green tide algae alters bacterial community composition under in situ seawater acidification of coastal areas


  • Metabolism of algae mat leads to a diel pH and CO2 fluctuation in affected seawater.
  • Bacterial communities in diffusive boundary layer of the algae had a diel change.
  • Flavobacteriaceae was shown increased at night but sharp decreased at daytime.
  • Harmful algal bloom might influence coastal ocean acidification.


Ocean acidification in coastal seawaters is a complex process, with coastal pH being affected by numerous factors including watershed and biological processes that also support metabolically diverse bacterial communities. The world’s largest macroalgal blooms have occurred consecutively in the Yellow Sea over the last 13 years. In particular, algal mats formed by Yellow Sea green tides (YSGT) significantly influence coastal environments. Herein, we hypothesized that 1) inorganic carbonate chemistry in coastal areas is altered by diel metabolism of these giant algal mats and that 2) bacterial community composition in diffusive boundary layers might be altered along diel cycles due to algal mat metabolism. In situ studies indicated that algal mat metabolism led to changes in diel pH and CO2 in affected seawaters. Such metabolic activities could intensify diel pH fluctuations in algal mat diffusive boundary layers, as noted by pH fluctuations of 0.22 ± 0.01 units, and pCO2 fluctuations of 214.62 ± 29.37 μatm per day. In contrast, pH fluctuations of 0.11 ± 0.02 units and pCO2 fluctuations of 79.02 ± 42.70 μatm were noted in unaffected areas. Furthermore, the bacterial community composition associated with diffusive algal boundary layers, including those of ambient bacteria and epiphytic bacteria, exhibited diel changes, while endophytic bacterial communities were relatively stable. Flavobacteriaceae were particularly highly abundant taxa in the ambient and epiphytic bacterial communities and exhibited increased abundances at night but sharp decreases in abundances during daytime. Flavobacteriaceae are heterotrophic taxa that could contribute to coastal area acidification at night due to the transformation of organic carbon to inorganic carbon. These results provide new insights to understand the variability in coastal ocean acidification via harmful algal blooms while providing a framework for evaluating the effects of YSGT on costal carbon cycling.

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Ocean acidification alters the diversity and structure of oyster associated microbial communities


Host-associated microbial communities are fundamental to host physiology, yet it is unclear how these communities will respond to environmental disturbances. Here, we disentangle the environment-linked and host-linked effects of ocean acidification on oyster-associated microbial communities. We exposed adult oysters (Crassostrea virginica) to CO2-induced ocean acidification (400 vs. 2800 ppm) for 80 d. We measured the oyster extrapallial fluid pH and sampled the gills for microbial analysis at six time points. We found that different subsets of microbes were linked to acidification (n = 34 amplicon sequence variants [ASVs]) and to host response (n = 20 ASVs) with little overlap (n = 8 ASVs), suggesting that some members of the oyster microbiome were more responsive to environmental conditions while others were more tightly linked to host condition. Our results provide insight into which members of the oyster microbiome may contribute to the health and resistance of their host, and which members are the most vulnerable to changing environmental conditions.

Scientific Significance Statement

Understanding microbial responses to environmental disturbances is critical. However, in host-associated microbial communities, it is unclear whether microbial response to disturbance is linked to the environment, or if it is mediated via host response. We used Eastern oysters as a model to demonstrate that both environment- and host-linked factors influence the composition and structure of gill microbial communities exposed to ocean acidification. Remarkably, members of the microbiome linked directly to elevated pCO2 were different from those linked to the host’s physiological response. Disentangling the microbial community’s response to environmental disturbance from its response to the host’s reaction to that disturbance is essential to understand and predict the effect of global change drivers on host-associated microbial communities.

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Effects of seawater scrubbing on a microplanktonic community during a summer-bloom in the Baltic Sea


  • Effects of seawater scrubbing on a microplanktonic community were assessed.
  • Biovolume increased with increasing concentrations of scrubber discharge water.
  • Group-specific impacts were recorded.
  • pH alone could not explain the observed results.
  • Other stressors in the scrubber water were responsible for the observed effect.


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has gradually applied stricter regulations on the maximum sulphur content permitted in marine fuels and from January 1, 2020, the global fuel sulphur limit was reduced from 3.5% to 0.5%. An attractive option for shipowners is to install exhaust gas cleaning systems, also known as scrubbers, and continue to use high sulphur fuel oil. In the scrubber, the exhausts are led through a fine spray of water, in which sulphur oxides are easily dissolved. The process results in large volumes of acidic discharge water, but while regulations are focused on sulphur oxides removal and acidification, other pollutants e.g. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, metals and nitrogen oxides can be transferred from the exhausts to the washwater and discharged to the marine environment. The aim of the current study was to investigate how different treatments of scrubber discharge water (1, 3 and 10%) affect a natural Baltic Sea summer microplanktonic community. To resolve potential contribution of acidification from the total effect of the scrubber discharge water, “pH controls” were included where the pH of natural sea water was reduced to match the scrubber treatments. Biological effects (e.g. microplankton species composition, biovolume and primary productivity) and chemical parameters (e.g. pH and alkalinity) were monitored and analysed during 14 days of exposure. Significant effects were observed in the 3% scrubber treatment, with more than 20% increase in total biovolume of microplankton compared to the control group, and an even greater effect in the 10% scrubber treatment. Group-specific impacts were recorded where diatoms, flagellates incertae sedis, chlorophytes and ciliates increased in biovolume with increasing concentrations of scrubber water while no effect was recorded for cyanobacteria. In contrast, these effects was not observed in the “pH controls”, a suggestion that other parameters/stressors in the scrubber water were responsible for the observed effects.

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Climate change influences chlorophylls and bacteriochlorophylls metabolism in hypersaline microbial mat


  • Higher chlorophyll derivatives concentration on acidification treatment
  • Lower chlorophyll a concentration on acidification treatment
  • Production of bound carbohydrates EPS on acidification treatment
  • No impact of warming and acidification on mat photosynthetic efficiency


This study aimed to determine the effect of the climatic change on the phototrophic communities of hypersaline microbial mats. Ocean acidification and warming were simulated alone and together on microbial mats placed into mesocosms. As expected, the temperature in the warming treatments increased by 4 °C from the initial temperature. Surprisingly, no significance difference was observed between the water pH of the different treatments despite of a decrease of 0.4 unit pH in the water reserves of acidification treatments. The salinity increased on the warming treatments and the dissolved oxygen concentration increased and was higher on the acidification treatments. A total of 37 pigments were identified belonging to chlorophylls, carotenes and xanthophylls families. The higher abundance of unknown chlorophyll molecules called chlorophyll derivatives was observed in the acidification alone treatment with a decrease in chlorophyll a abundance. This change in pigmentary composition was accompanied by a higher production of bound extracellular carbohydrates but didn’t affect the photosynthetic efficiency of the microbial mats. A careful analysis of the absorption properties of these molecules indicated that these chlorophyll derivatives were likely bacteriochlorophyll c contained in the chlorosomes of green anoxygenic phototroph bacteria. Two hypotheses can be drawn from these results: 1/ the phototrophic communities of the microbial mats were modified under acidification treatment leading to a higher relative abundance of green anoxygenic bacteria, or 2/ the highest availability of CO2 in the environment has led to a shift in the metabolism of green anoxygenic bacteria being more competitive than other phototrophs.

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Cyanobacteria net community production in the Baltic Sea as inferred from profiling pCO2 measurements

Organic matter production by cyanobacteria blooms is a major environmental concern for the Baltic Sea, as it promotes the spread of anoxic zones. Partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) measurements carried out on Ships of Opportunity (SOOP) since 2003 have proven to be a powerful tool to resolve the carbon dynamics of the blooms in space and time. However, SOOP measurements lack the possibility to directly constrain depth-integrated net community production (NCP) in moles of carbon per surface area due to their restriction to the sea surface. This study tackles the knowledge gap through (1) providing an NCP best guess for an individual cyanobacteria bloom based on repeated profiling measurements of pCO2 and (2) establishing an algorithm to accurately reconstruct depth-integrated NCP from surface pCO2 observations in combination with modelled temperature profiles.

Goal (1) was achieved by deploying state-of-the-art sensor technology from a small-scale sailing vessel. The low-cost and flexible platform enabled observations covering an entire bloom event that occurred in July–August 2018 in the Eastern Gotland Sea. For the biogeochemical interpretation, recorded pCO2 profiles were converted to C∗T, which is the dissolved inorganic carbon concentration normalised to alkalinity. We found that the investigated bloom event was dominated by Nodularia and had many biogeochemical characteristics in common with blooms in previous years. In particular, it lasted for about 3 weeks, caused a C∗T drawdown of 90 µmol kg−1, and was accompanied by a sea surface temperature increase of 10 C. The novel finding of this study is the vertical extension of the C∗T drawdown up to the compensation depth located at around 12 m. Integration of the C∗T drawdown across this depth and correction for vertical fluxes leads to an NCP best guess of ∼1.2 mol m−2 over the productive period.

Addressing goal (2), we combined modelled hydrographical profiles with surface pCO2 observations recorded by SOOP Finnmaid within the study area. Introducing the temperature penetration depth (TPD) as a new parameter to integrate SOOP observations across depth, we achieve an NCP reconstruction that agrees to the best guess within 10 %, which is considerably better than the reconstruction based on a classical mixed-layer depth constraint.

Applying the TPD approach to almost 2 decades of surface pCO2 observations available for the Baltic Sea bears the potential to provide new insights into the control and long-term trends of cyanobacteria NCP. This understanding is key for an effective design and monitoring of conservation measures aiming at a Good Environmental Status of the Baltic Sea.

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Reduced H+ channel activity disrupts pH homeostasis and calcification in coccolithophores at low ocean pH

Coccolithophores produce the bulk of ocean biogenic calcium carbonate but this process is predicted to be negatively affected by future ocean acidification scenarios. Since coccolithophores calcify intracellularly, the mechanisms through which changes in seawater carbonate chemistry affect calcification remain unclear. Here we show that voltage-gated H+ channels in the plasma membrane of Coccolithus braarudii serve to regulate pH and maintain calcification under normal conditions, but have greatly reduced activity in cells acclimated to low pH. This disrupts intracellular pH homeostasis and impairs the ability of C. braarudii to remove H+ generated by the calcification process, leading to specific coccolith malformations. These coccolith malformations can be reproduced by pharmacological inhibition of H+ channels. Heavily-calcified coccolithophore species such as C. braarudii, which make the major contribution to carbonate export to the deep ocean, have a large intracellular H+ load and are likely to be most vulnerable to future decreases in ocean pH.

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Effects of climate change on metabolite accumulation in freshwater and marine cyanobacteria


  • Toxin profiles of marine and freshwater cyanobacteria.
  • Metabolomics of two microcystin producers using orbitrap mass spectrometry.
  • Different responses of cyanobacteria to CO2 induced pH level changes.
  • Semi-continuous culturing and CO2 micro-adjustment.


Global climate change and anthropogenic nutrient inputs are responsible for increased frequency of cyanobacterial blooms that potentially contain 55 classes of bioactive metabolites. This study investigated the effects of CO2 availability and concomittant pH levels on two cyanobacteria that produce microcystins: a marine cf. Synechocystis sp. and a freshwater Microcystis aeruginosa. Cyanobacterial strains were semi-continuously cultured in mesotrophic growth media at pH 7.5, 7.8, 8.2, and 8.5 via a combination of CO2 addition and control of alkalinity. The cell concentration between treatments was not significantly different and nutrient availability was not limited. Concentration of most known cyanobacterial bioactive metabolites in both cyanobacterial strains increased as CO2 increased. At pH 7.8, bioactive metabolite intracellular concentration in M. aeruginosa and Synechocystis was 1.5 and 1.2 times greater than the other three treatments, respectively. Intracellular concentration of microginin in M. aeruginosa at pH 7.5 was reduced by 90% compared to the other three treatments. Intracellular concentration of microcyclamide-bistratamide B was lower in M. aeruginosa and higher in Synechocystis at elevated CO2 concentration. M. aeruginosa products were more diverse metabolites than Synechocystis. The diversity of accumulated metabolites in M. aeruginosa increased as CO2 increased, whereas the metabolite diversity in Synechocystis decreased as pH decreased. Overall, intracellular concentration of bioactive metabolites was higher at greater CO2 concentrations; marine and freshwater cyanobacteria had different allocation products when exposed to differing CO2 environments.

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The role of a changing Arctic Ocean and climate for the biogeochemical cycling of dimethyl sulphide and carbon monoxide

Dimethyl sulphide (DMS) and carbon monoxide (CO) are climate-relevant trace gases that play key roles in the radiative budget of the Arctic atmosphere. Under global warming, Arctic sea ice retreats at an unprecedented rate, altering light penetration and biological communities, and potentially affect DMS and CO cycling in the Arctic Ocean. This could have socio-economic implications in and beyond the Arctic region. However, little is known about CO production pathways and emissions in this region and the future development of DMS and CO cycling. Here we summarize the current understanding and assess potential future changes of DMS and CO cycling in relation to changes in sea ice coverage, light penetration, bacterial and microalgal communities, pH and physical properties. We suggest that production of DMS and CO might increase with ice melting, increasing light availability and shifting phytoplankton community. Among others, policy measures should facilitate large-scale process studies, coordinated long term observations and modelling efforts to improve our current understanding of the cycling and emissions of DMS and CO in the Arctic Ocean and of global consequences.

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Approaches and involved principles to control pH/pCO2 stability in algal cultures

Experimental cultures of both microalgae and macroalgae are commonly carried out by phycologists or environmental biologists to look into morphological, physiological, and molecular responses to aquatic environmental changes. However, the species of inorganic carbon in algae cultures is often altered by algal photosynthetic CO2 removal and/or bicarbonate utilization. The pH changes associated with altered carbonate chemistry in cultures impact physiological processes in microalgae and macroalgae even at their exponential growth phases, since extra energy is required to sustain intracellular acid–base homeostasis. Usually, pH increases during light period due to inorganic carbon uptake and utilization for photosynthesis and decreases during dark period because of respiratory CO2 release. Therefore, to obtain relevant data aimed for physiological and/or molecular responses of algae to changed levels of environmental factors, stability of pH/pCO2 in the cultures should be considered and controlled to rule out impacts of carbonate chemistry and pH changes. In this work, principles involved in changing pH processes in algal cultures are mechanistically analyzed and several approaches to control pH and pCO2 are introduced. In order to sustain stability of pH/pCO2, the principles underline the following key points: (1) maintaining the rate of photosynthetic C removal less than or equal to the rate of CO2 dissolution into the cultures which are aerated; or (2) sustaining dilute cultures with very low cell density without aeration, so that photosynthetic C removal is small enough not to cause significant pH/pCO2 changes; or (3) stabilizing the changes in micro-environments surrounding the cells or thallus. To maintain pH drift < 1% in growing typical unicellular microalgae, the recommended cell concentration ranges from 50 × 103 to 200 × 103 mL−1 with aeration (air replacement rate of ca 500–1000 mL L−1 min−1) in semi-continuous cultures of < 1 L, and it ranges from 100 to 5000 cells mL−1 for diatoms and from 100 to 100 × 103 cells mL−1 for coccolithophores in dilute cultures without aeration, respectively. For macroalgae, maintaining the thalli in flowing through- system or in semi-continuous cultures (continuously control algal biomass density) is recommended.

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Microbes support enhanced nitrogen requirements of coral holobionts in a high CO2 environment

Ocean acidification is posing a threat to calcifying organisms due to the increased energy requirements of calcification under high CO2 conditions. The ability of scleractinian corals to cope with future ocean conditions will thus depend on their ability to fulfill their carbon requirement. However, the primary productivity of coral holobionts is limited by low nitrogen (N) availability in coral reef waters. Here, we employed CO2 seeps of Tutum Bay (Papua New Guinea) as a natural laboratory to understand how coral holobionts offset their increased energy requirements under high CO2 conditions. Our results demonstrate for the first time that under high pCO2 conditions, N assimilation pathways of Pocillopora damicornis are jointly modified. We found that diazotroph-derived N assimilation rates in the Symbiodiniaceae were significantly higher in comparison to an ambient CO2 control site, concomitant with a restructured diazotroph community and the specific prevalence of an alpha-proteobacterium. Further, corals at the high CO2 site also had increased feeding rates on picoplankton and in particular exhibited selective feeding on Synechococcus sp., known to be rich in N. Given the high abundance of picoplankton in oligotrophic waters at large, our results suggest that corals exhibiting flexible diazotrophic communities and capable of exploiting N-rich picoplankton sources to offset their increased N requirements may be able to cope better in a high pCO2 world.

Continue reading ‘Microbes support enhanced nitrogen requirements of coral holobionts in a high CO2 environment’

Stimulation of N2O emission via bacterial denitrification driven by acidification in estuarine sediments

Ocean acidification in nitrogen-enriched estuaries has raised global concerns. For decades, biotic and abiotic denitrification in estuarine sediments have been regarded as the major ways to remove reactive nitrogen, but they occur at the expense of releasing greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). However, how these pathways respond to acidification remains poorly understood. Here we performed a N2O isotopocules analysis coupled with respiration inhibition and molecular approaches to investigate the impacts of acidification on bacterial, fungal, and chemo-denitrification, as well as N2O emission, in estuarine sediments through a series of anoxic incubations. Results showed that acidification stimulated N2O release from sediments, which was mainly mediated by the activity of bacterial denitrifiers, while in neutral environments, N2O production was dominated by fungi. We also found that the contribution of chemo-denitrification to N2O production cannot be ignored, but was not significantly affected by acidification. The mechanistic investigation further demonstrated that acidification changed the keystone taxa of sedimentary denitrifiers from N2O-reducing to N2O-producing ones, and reduced microbial electron transfer efficiency during denitrification. These findings provide novel insights into how acidification stimulates N2O emission and modulates its pathways in estuarine sediments, and how it may contribute to the acceleration of global climate change in the Anthropocene.

Continue reading ‘Stimulation of N2O emission via bacterial denitrification driven by acidification in estuarine sediments’

Effects of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming on the gut microbiota of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16S rRNA gene sequencing

Gut microbiota play a very important role in the health of the host, such as protecting from pathogens and maintaining homeostasis. However, environmental stressors, such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming can affect microbial communities by causing alteration in their structure and relative abundance and by destroying their network. The study aimed to evaluate the combined effects of low pH, low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels, and warming on gut microbiota of the mussel Mytilus coruscus. Mussels were exposed to two pH levels (8.1, 7.7), two DO levels (6, 2 mg L−1), and two temperature levels (20, 30°C) for a total of eight treatments for 30 days. The experiment results showed that ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming affected the community structure, species richness, and diversity of gut microbiota. The most abundant phyla noted were Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) revealed that ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming change microbial community structure. Low pH, low DO, and increased temperature can cause shifting of microbial communities toward pathogen dominated microbial communities. Linear discriminant analysis effect size (LEfSe) showed that the significantly enriched biomarkers in each group are significantly different at the genus level. Phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states (PICRUSt) analysis revealed that the gut microbiome of the mussels is associated with many important functions, such as amino acid transport and metabolism, transcription, energy production and conservation, cell wall, membrane and envelope biogenesis, and other functions. This study highlights the complexity of interaction among pH, DO, and temperature in marine organisms and their effects on the gut microbiota and health of marine mussels.

Continue reading ‘Effects of ocean acidification, hypoxia, and warming on the gut microbiota of the thick shell mussel Mytilus coruscus through 16S rRNA gene sequencing’

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