Microscopical and molecular analyses were used to investigate the diversity and spatial community structure of spring phytoplankton all along the estuarine gradient in a macrotidal ecosystem, the Baie des Veys (eastern English Channel). Taxa distribution at high tide in the water column appeared to be mainly driven by the tidal force which superimposed on the natural salinity gradient, resulting in a two-layer flow within the channel. Lowest taxa richness and abundance were found in the bay where Teleaulax-like cryptophytes dominated. A shift in species composition occurred towards the mouth of the river, with the diatom Asterionellopsis glacialis dramatically accumulating in the bottom waters of the upstream brackish reach. Small thalassiosiroid diatoms dominated the upper layer river community, where taxa richness was higher. Through the construction of partial 18S rDNA clone libraries, the microeukaryotic diversity was further explored for three samples selected along the surface salinity gradient (freshwater - brackish - marine). Clone libraries revealed a high diversity among heterotrophic and/or small-sized protists which were undetected by microscopy. Among them, a rich variety of Chrysophyceae and other lineages (e.g. novel marine stramenopiles) are reported here for the first time in this transition area. However, conventional microscopy remains more efficient in revealing the high diversity of phototrophic taxa, low in abundances but morphologically distinct, that is overlooked by the molecular approach. The differences between microscopical and molecular analyses and their limitations are discussed here, pointing out the complementarities of both approaches, for a thorough phytoplankton community description.
We compared growth kinetics of Prorocentrum donghaiense cultures on different nitrogen (N) compounds including nitrate (NO3−), ammonium (NH4+), urea, glutamic acid (glu), dialanine (diala) and cyanate. P. donghaiense exhibited standard Monod-type growth kinetics over a range of N concentraions (0.5–500 μmol N L−1 for NO3− and NH4+, 0.5–50 μmol N L−1 for urea, 0.5–100 μmol N L−1 for glu and cyanate, and 0.5–200 μmol N L−1 for diala) for all of the N compounds tested. Cultures grown on glu and urea had the highest maximum growth rates (μm, 1.51±0.06 d−1 and 1.50±0.05 d−1, respectively). However, cultures grown on cyanate, NO3−, and NH4+ had lower half saturation constants (Kμ, 0.28–0.51 μmol N L−1). N uptake kinetics were measured in NO3−-deplete and -replete batch cultures of P. donghaiense. In NO3−-deplete batch cultures, P. donghaiense exhibited Michaelis-Menten type uptake kinetics for NO3−, NH4+, urea and algal amino acids; uptake was saturated at or below 50 μmol N L−1. In NO3−-replete batch cultures, NH4+, urea, and algal amino acid uptake kinetics were similar to those measured in NO3−-deplete batch cultures. Together, our results demonstrate that P. donghaiense can grow well on a variety of N sources, and exhibits similar uptake kinetics under both nutrient replete and deplete conditions. This may be an important factor facilitating their growth during bloom initiation and development in N-enriched estuaries where many algae compete for bioavailable N and the nutrient environment changes as a result of algal growth.
Water temperature affects the physiology of large benthic foraminifers (LBFs) with algal symbionts dwelling in coral reef environments. However, the detailed physiological responses of LBF holobionts to temperature ranges occurring in their habitats are not known. We report net oxygen (O2) production and respiration rates of three LBF holobionts (Baculogypsina sphaerulata and Calcarina gaudichaudii hosting diatom symbionts, and Amphisorus kudakajimensis hosting dinoflagellate symbionts) measured in the laboratory at water temperatures ranging from 5°C to 45°C in 2.5°C or 5°C intervals and with light saturation levels of ∼500 µmol m−2 s−1. In addition, the recovery of net O2 production and respiration rates after exposure to temperature stress was assessed. The net O2 production and respiration rates of the three LBF holobionts peaked at ∼30°C, indicating their optimal temperature for a short exposure period. At extreme high temperatures (≥40°C), the net O2 production rates of all three LBF holobionts declined to less than zero and the respiration rates slightly decreased, indicating that photosynthesis of algal symbionts was inactivated. At extreme low temperatures (≤10°C for two calcarinid species and ≤5°C for A. kudakajimensis), the net O2 production and respiration rates were near zero, indicating a weakening of holobiont activity. After exposure to extreme high or low temperature, the net O2 production rates did not recover until the following day, whereas the respiration rates recovered rapidly, suggesting that a longer time (days) is required for recovery from damage to the photosystem by temperature stress compared to the respiration system. These results indicate that the oxygen metabolism of LBF holobionts can generally cope well with conditions that fluctuate diurnally and seasonally in their habitats. However, temporal heat and cold stresses with high light levels may induce severe damage to algal symbionts and also damage to host foraminifers.
The southeastern US has experienced recurrent drought during recent decades. Increasing demand for water, as precipitation decreases, exacerbates stress on the aquatic biota of the Southeast: a global hotspot for freshwater mussel, crayfish, and fish diversity. Freshwater unionid mussels are ideal candidates to study linkages between ecophysiological and behavioral responses to drought. Previous work on co-occurring mussel species suggests a coupling of physiology and behavior along a gradient ranging from intolerant species such as Pyganodon grandis (giant floater) that track receding waters and rarely burrow in the substrates to tolerant species such as Uniomerus tetralasmus (pondhorn) that rarely track receding waters, but readily burrow into the drying sediments. We utilized a next-generation sequencing-based RNA-Seq approach to examine heat/desiccation-induced transcriptomic profiles of these two species in order to identify linkages between patterns of gene expression, physiology and behavior. Sequencing produced over 425 million 100 bp reads. Using the de novo assembly package Trinity, we assembled the short reads into 321,250 contigs from giant floater (average length 835 bp) and 385,735 contigs from pondhorn (average length 929 bp). BLAST-based annotation and gene expression analysis revealed 2,832 differentially expressed genes in giant floater and 2,758 differentially expressed genes in pondhorn. Trancriptomic responses included changes in molecular chaperones, oxidative stress profiles, cell cycling, energy metabolism, immunity, and cytoskeletal rearrangements. Comparative analyses between species indicated significantly higher induction of molecular chaperones and cytoskeletal elements in the intolerant P. grandis as well as important differences in genes regulating apoptosis and immunity.
Nuclear DNA content in gametophytes and sporophytes or the prostrate phases of the following species of Bonnemaisoniaceae (Asparagopsis armata, Asparagopsis taxiformis, Bonnemaisonia asparagoides, Bonnemaisonia clavata and Bonnemaisonia hamifera) were estimated by image analysis and static microspectrophotometry using the DNA-localizing fluorochrome DAPI (4′, 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole, dilactate) and the chicken erythrocytes standard. These estimates expand on the Kew database of DNA nuclear content. DNA content values for 1C nuclei in the gametophytes (spermatia and vegetative cells) range from 0.5 pg to 0.8 pg, and for 2C nuclei in the sporophytes or the prostrate phases range from 1.15–1.7 pg. Although only the 2C and 4C values were observed in the sporophyte or the prostrate phase, in the vegetative cells of the gametophyte the values oscillated from 1C to 4C, showing the possible start of endopolyploidy. The results confirm the alternation of nuclear phases in these Bonnemaisoniaceae species, in those that have tetrasporogenesis, as well as those that have somatic meiosis. The availability of a consensus phylogenetic tree for Bonnemaisoniaceae has opened the way to determine evolutionary trends in DNA contents. Both the estimated genome sizes and the published chromosome numbers for Bonnemaisoniaceae suggest a narrow range of values consistent with the conservation of an ancestral genome.
MADS-box genes are important transcription factors for plant development, especially floral organogenesis. Brachypodium distachyon is a model for biofuel plants and temperate grasses such as wheat and barley, but a comprehensive analysis of MADS-box family proteins in Brachypodium is still missing. We report here a genome-wide analysis of the MADS-box gene family in Brachypodium distachyon. We identified 57 MADS-box genes and classified them into 32 MIKCc-type, 7 MIKC*-type, 9 Mα, 7 Mβ and 2 Mγ MADS-box genes according to their phylogenetic relationships to the Arabidopsis and rice MADS-box genes. Detailed gene structure and motif distribution were then studied. Investigation of their chromosomal localizations revealed that Brachypodium MADS-box genes distributed evenly across five chromosomes. In addition, five pairs of type II MADS-box genes were found on synteny blocks derived from whole genome duplication blocks. We then performed a systematic expression analysis of Brachypodium MADS-box genes in various tissues, particular floral organs. Further detection under salt, drought, and low-temperature conditions showed that some MADS-box genes may also be involved in abiotic stress responses, including type I genes. Comparative studies of MADS-box genes among Brachypodium, rice and Arabidopsis showed that Brachypodium had fewer gene duplication events. Taken together, this work provides useful data for further functional studies of MADS-box genes in Brachypodium distachyon.
The evolution of the Yunnan Plateau’s drainages network during the Pleistocene was dominated by the intense uplifts of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. In the present study, we investigated the association between the evolutionary histories of three main drainage systems and the geographic patterns of genetic differentiation of Poropuntius huangchuchieni.
We sequenced the complete sequences of mitochondrial control region for 304 specimens and the sequences of Cytochrome b gene for 15 specimens of the species P. huangchuchieni and 5 specimens of Poropuntius opisthoptera. Phylogenetic analysis identified five major lineages, of which lineages MK-A and MK-B constrained to the Mekong River System, lineages RL and LX to the Red River System, and lineage SW to the Salween River System. The genetic distance and network analysis detected significant divergences among these lineages. Mismatch distribution analysis implied that the population of P. huangchuchieni underwent demographic stability and the lineage MK-B, sublineages MK-A1 and LX-1 underwent a recent population expansion. The divergence of the 5 major lineages was dated back to 0.73–1.57 MYA.
Our results suggest that P. opisthoptera was a paraphyletic group of P. huangchuchieni. The phylogenetic pattern of P. huangchuchieni was mostly associated with the drainage’s structures and the geomorphological history of the Southwest Yunnan Plateau. Also the differentiation of the major lineages among the three drainages systems coincides with the Kunlun-Yellow River Movement (1.10–0.60 MYA). The genetic differentiation within river basins and recent demographical expansions that occurred in some lineages and sublineages are consistent with the palaeoclimatic oscillations during the Pleistocene. Additionally, our results also suggest that the populations of P. huangchuchieni had keep long term large effective population sizes and demographic stability in the recent evolutionary history, which may be responsible for the high genetic diversity and incomplete lineages sorting of Poropuntius huangchuchieni.
Diatoms are the primary source of nutrition and energy for the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Microalgae, including diatoms, synthesise biological macromolecules such as lipids, proteins and carbohydrates for growth, reproduction and acclimation to prevailing environmental conditions. Here we show that three key species of Southern Ocean diatom (Fragilariopsis cylindrus, Chaetoceros simplex and Pseudo-nitzschia subcurvata) exhibited phenotypic plasticity in response to salinity and temperature regimes experienced during the seasonal formation and decay of sea ice. The degree of phenotypic plasticity, in terms of changes in macromolecular composition, was highly species-specific and consistent with each species’ known distribution and abundance throughout sea ice, meltwater and pelagic habitats, suggesting that phenotypic plasticity may have been selected for by the extreme variability of the polar marine environment. We argue that changes in diatom macromolecular composition and shifts in species dominance in response to a changing climate have the potential to alter nutrient and energy fluxes throughout the Southern Ocean ecosystem.
Marine diseases are of increasing concern for coral reef ecosystems, but often their causes, dynamics and impacts are unknown. The current study investigated the epidemiology of Aplysina Red Band Syndrome (ARBS), a disease affecting the Caribbean sponge Aplysina cauliformis, at both the individual and population levels. The fates of marked healthy and ARBS-infected sponges were examined over the course of a year. Population-level impacts and transmission mechanisms of ARBS were investigated by monitoring two populations of A. cauliformis over a three year period using digital photography and diver-collected data, and analyzing these data with GIS techniques of spatial analysis. In this study, three commonly used spatial statistics (Ripley’s K, Getis-Ord General G, and Moran’s Index) were compared to each other and with direct measurements of individual interactions using join-counts, to determine the ideal method for investigating disease dynamics and transmission mechanisms in this system. During the study period, Hurricane Irene directly impacted these populations, providing an opportunity to assess potential storm effects on A. cauliformis and ARBS.
Infection with ARBS caused increased loss of healthy sponge tissue over time and a higher likelihood of individual mortality. Hurricane Irene had a dramatic effect on A. cauliformis populations by greatly reducing sponge biomass on the reef, especially among diseased individuals. Spatial analysis showed that direct contact between A. cauliformis individuals was the likely transmission mechanism for ARBS within a population, evidenced by a significantly higher number of contact-joins between diseased sponges compared to random. Of the spatial statistics compared, the Moran’s Index best represented true connections between diseased sponges in the survey area. This study showed that spatial analysis can be a powerful tool for investigating disease dynamics and transmission in a coral reef ecosystem.
The majority of marine benthic invertebrates protect themselves from predators by producing calcareous tubes or shells that have remarkable mechanical strength. An elevation of CO2 or a decrease in pH in the environment can reduce intracellular pH at the site of calcification and thus interfere with animal’s ability to accrete CaCO3. In nature, decreased pH in combination with stressors associated with climate change may result in the animal producing severely damaged and mechanically weak tubes. This study investigated how the interaction of environmental drivers affects production of calcareous tubes by the serpulid tubeworm, Hydroides elegans. In a factorial manipulative experiment, we analyzed the effects of pH (8.1 and 7.8), salinity (34 and 27‰), and temperature (23°C and 29°C) on the biomineral composition, ultrastructure and mechanical properties of the tubes. At an elevated temperature of 29°C, the tube calcite/aragonite ratio and Mg/Ca ratio were both increased, the Sr/Ca ratio was decreased, and the amorphous CaCO3 content was reduced. Notably, at elevated temperature with decreased pH and reduced salinity, the constructed tubes had a more compact ultrastructure with enhanced hardness and elasticity compared to decreased pH at ambient temperature. Thus, elevated temperature rescued the decreased pH-induced tube impairments. This indicates that tubeworms are likely to thrive in early subtropical summer climate. In the context of climate change, tubeworms could be resilient to the projected near-future decreased pH or salinity as long as surface seawater temperature rise at least by 4°C.
Coral reefs are damaged by natural disturbances and local and global anthropogenic stresses. As stresses intensify, so do debates about whether reefs will recover after significant damage. True headway in this debate requires documented temporal trajectories for coral assemblages subjected to various combinations of stresses; therefore, we report relevant changes in coral assemblages at Little Cayman Island. Between 1999 and 2012, spatiotemporal patterns in cover, densities of juveniles and size structure of assemblages were documented inside and outside marine protected areas using transects, quadrats and measurements of maximum diameters. Over five years, bleaching and disease caused live cover to decrease from 26% to 14%, with full recovery seven years later. Juvenile densities varied, reaching a maximum in 2010. Both patterns were consistent within and outside protected areas. In addition, dominant coral species persisted within and outside protected areas although their size frequency distributions varied temporally and spatially. The health of the coral assemblage and the similarity of responses across levels of protection suggested that negligible anthropogenic disturbance at the local scale was a key factor underlying the observed resilience.
White syndrome, a term for scleractinian coral disease with progressive tissue loss, is known to cause depressed growth and increased morality of coral reefs in the major oceans around the world, and the occurrence of this disease has been frequently reported in the past few decades. Investigations during April to September in both 2010 and 2011 identified widespread Poritesandrewsi White syndrome (PAWS) in Xisha Archipelago, South China Sea. However, the causes and etiology of PAWS have been unknown.
A transmission experiment was performed on P. andrewsi in the Qilianyu Subgroup (QLY). The results showed that there was a significant (P ≤ 0.05) difference between test and control groups after 28 days if the invalid replicates were excluded. Rates of tissue loss ranged from 0.90-10.76 cm2 d-1 with a mean of 5.40 ± 3.34 cm2 d-1 (mean ± SD). Bacterial strains were isolated from the PAWS corals at the disease outbreak sites in QLY of the Xisha Archipelago, South China Sea, and included in laboratory-based infection trials to satisfy Koch’s postulates for establishing causality. Following exposure to bacterial concentrations of 105 cells mL-1, the infected colonies exhibited similar signs to those observed in the field. Using phylogenetic 16S rRNA gene analysis, classical phenotypic trait comparison, Biolog automatic identification system, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and MALDI Biotyper method, two pathogenic strains were identified as Vibrioalginolyticus.
This is the first report of V. alginolyticus as a pathogenic agent of PAWS in the South China Sea. Our results point out an urgent need to develop sensitive detection methods for V. alginolyticus virulence strains and robust diagnostics for coral disease caused by this and Vibrio pathogenic bacterium in the South China Sea.
In situ pigment contents of biofilm-dwelling bdelloid rotifers of the Garonne River (France) were measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and compared with pigment composition of surrounding biofilm microphytobenthic communities. Among pigments that were detected in rotifers, the presence of carotenoids fucoxanthin and myxoxanthophyll showed that the rotifers fed on diatoms and cyanobacteria. Unexpectedly, while diatoms strongly dominated microphytobenthic communities in terms of biomass, HPLC results hinted that rotifers selectively ingested benthic filamentous cyanobacteria. In doing so, rotifers could daily remove a substantial fraction (up to 28%) of this cyanobacterial biomass. The possibility that the rotifers hosted symbiotic myxoxanthophyll-containing cyanobacteria was examined by localisation of chlorophyll fluorescence within rotifers using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). CLSM results showed an even distribution of quasi–circular fluorescent objects (FO) throughout rotifer bodies, whereas myxoxanthophyll is a biomarker pigment of filamentous cyanobacteria, so the hypothesis was rejected. Our results also suggest that rotifers converted β-carotene (provided by ingested algae) into echinenone, a photoprotective pigment. This study, which is the first one to detail in situ pigment contents of rotifers, clearly shows that the role of cyanobacteria as a food source for meiobenthic invertebrates has been underestimated so far, and deserves urgent consideration.
The occlusion of carbon (C) by phytoliths, the recalcitrant silicified structures deposited within plant tissues, is an important persistent C sink mechanism for croplands and other grass-dominated ecosystems. By constructing a silica content-phytolith content transfer function and calculating the magnitude of phytolith C sink in global croplands with relevant crop production data, this study investigated the present and potential of phytolith C sinks in global croplands and its contribution to the cropland C balance to understand the cropland C cycle and enhance long-term C sequestration in croplands. Our results indicate that the phytolith sink annually sequesters 26.35±10.22 Tg of carbon dioxide (CO2) and may contribute 40±18% of the global net cropland soil C sink for 1961–2100. Rice (25%), wheat (19%) and maize (23%) are the dominant contributing crop species to this phytolith C sink. Continentally, the main contributors are Asia (49%), North America (17%) and Europe (16%). The sink has tripled since 1961, mainly due to fertilizer application and irrigation. Cropland phytolith C sinks may be further enhanced by adopting cropland management practices such as optimization of cropping system and fertilization.
Next generation sequencing of ribosomal DNA is increasingly used to assess the diversity and structure of microbial communities. Here we test the ability of 454 pyrosequencing to detect the number of species present, and assess the relative abundance in terms of cell numbers and biomass of protists in the phylum Haptophyta. We used a mock community consisting of equal number of cells of 11 haptophyte species and compared targeting DNA and RNA/cDNA, and two different V4 SSU rDNA haptophyte-biased primer pairs. Further, we tested four different bioinformatic filtering methods to reduce errors in the resulting sequence dataset. With sequencing depth of 11000–20000 reads and targeting cDNA with Haptophyta specific primers Hap454 we detected all 11 species. A rarefaction analysis of expected number of species recovered as a function of sampling depth suggested that minimum 1400 reads were required here to recover all species in the mock community. Relative read abundance did not correlate to relative cell numbers. Although the species represented with the largest biomass was also proportionally most abundant among the reads, there was generally a weak correlation between proportional read abundance and proportional biomass of the different species, both with DNA and cDNA as template. The 454 sequencing generated considerable spurious diversity, and more with cDNA than DNA as template. With initial filtering based only on match with barcode and primer we observed 100-fold more operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at 99% similarity than the number of species present in the mock community. Filtering based on quality scores, or denoising with PyroNoise resulted in ten times more OTU99% than the number of species. Denoising with AmpliconNoise reduced the number of OTU99% to match the number of species present in the mock community. Based on our analyses, we propose a strategy to more accurately depict haptophyte diversity using 454 pyrosequencing.
The diversity-ecosystem function relationship is an important topic in ecology but has not received much attention in Arctic environments, and has rarely been tested for its stability in time. We studied the temporal variability of benthic ecosystem functioning at hotspots (sites with high benthic boundary fluxes) and coldspots (sites with lower fluxes) across two years in the Canadian Arctic. Benthic remineralisation function was measured as fluxes of oxygen, silicic acid, phosphate, nitrate and nitrite at the sediment-water interface. In addition we determined sediment pigment concentration and taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity. To separate temporal from spatial variability, we sampled the same nine sites from the Mackenzie Shelf to Baffin Bay during the same season (summer or fall) in 2008 and 2009. We observed that temporal variability of benthic remineralisation function at hotspots is higher than at coldspots and that taxonomic and functional macrobenthic diversity did not change significantly between years. Temporal variability of food availability (i.e., sediment surface pigment concentration) seemed higher at coldspot than at hotspot areas. Sediment chlorophyll a (Chl a) concentration, taxonomic richness, total abundance, water depth and abundance of the largest gallery-burrowing polychaete Lumbrineristetraura together explained 42% of the total variation in fluxes. Food supply proxies (i.e., sediment Chl a and depth) split hot- from coldspot stations and explained variation on the axis of temporal variability, and macrofaunal community parameters explained variation mostly along the axis separating eastern from western sites with hot- or coldspot regimes. We conclude that variability in benthic remineralisation function, food supply and diversity will react to climate change on different time scales, and that their interactive effects may hide the detection of progressive change, particularly at hotspots. Time-series of benthic functions and its related parameters should be conducted at both hot- and coldspots to produce reliable predictive models.
Climate-driven changes are expected to alter the hydrography of the Sub-Antarctic Zone (SAZ) and Polar Frontal Zone (PFZ) south of Australia, in which distinct regional environments are believed to be responsible for the differences in phytoplankton biomass in these regions. Here, we report how the dynamic influences of light, iron and temperature, which are responsible for the photophysiological differences between phytoplankton in the SAZ and PFZ, contribute to the biomass differences in these regions. High effective photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (/0.4), maximum photosynthesis rate (), light-saturation intensity (), maximum rate of photosynthetic electron transport (1/), and low photoprotective pigment concentrations observed in the SAZ correspond to high chlorophyll and iron concentrations. In contrast, phytoplankton in the PFZ exhibits low / ( 0.2) and high concentrations of photoprotective pigments under low light environment. Strong negative relationships between iron, temperature, and photoprotective pigments demonstrate that cells were producing more photoprotective pigments under low temperature and iron conditions, and are responsible for the low biomass and low productivity measured in the PFZ. As warming and enhanced iron input is expected in this region, this could probably increase phytoplankton photosynthesis in this region. However, complex interactions between the biogeochemical processes (e.g. stratification caused by warming could prevent mixing of nutrients), which control phytoplankton biomass and productivity, remain uncertain.
Gene structure and expression regulation of form II RuBisCO (rbcII) in dinoflagellates are still poorly understood. Here we isolated this gene (Pdrbc) and investigated its diel expression pattern in a harmful algal bloom forming dinoflagellate Prorocentrum donghaiense. We obtained cDNA sequences with triple tandem repeats of the coding unit (CU); the 5′ region has the sequence of a typical dinoflagellate plastid gene, encoding an N-terminus with two transmembrane regions separated by a plastid transit peptide. The CUs (1,455 bp except 1464 bp in last CU) are connected through a 63 bp spacer. Phylogenetic analysis showed that rbcII CUs within species formed monophyletic clusters, indicative of intraspecific gene duplication or purifying evolution. Using quantitative PCR (qPCR) we estimated 117±40 CUs of Pdrbc in the P. donghaiense genome. Although it is commonly believed that most dinoflagellate genes lack transcriptional regulation, our RT-qPCR analysis on synchronized cultures revealed remarkable diel rhythm of Pdrbc expression, showing significant correlations of transcript abundance with the timing of the dark-to-light transition and cell cycle G2M-phase. When the cultures were shifted to continuous light, Pdrbc expression remained significantly correlated with the G2M-phase. Under continuous darkness the cell cycle was arrested at the G1 phase, and the rhythm of Pdrbc transcription disappeared. Our results suggest that dinoflagellate rbcII 1) undergoes duplication or sequence purification within species, 2) is organized in tandem arrays in most species probably to facilitate efficient translation and import of the encoded enzyme, and 3) is regulated transcriptionally in a cell cycle-dependent fashion at least in some dinoflagellates.
Traditionally Cocholodinium and Gymnodinium sensu lato clade are distinguished based on the cingulum turn number, which has been increasingly recognized to be inadequate for Gymnodiniales genus classification. This has been improved by the combination of the apical groove characteristics and molecular phylogeny, which has led to the erection of several new genera (Takayama, Akashiwo, Karenia, and Karlodinium). Taking the apical groove characteristics and molecular phylogeny combined approach, we reexamined the historically taxonomically uncertain species Cochlodinium geminatum that formed massive blooms in Pearl River Estuary, China, in recent years. Samples were collected from a bloom in 2011 for morphological, characteristic pigment, and molecular analyses. We found that the cingulum in this species wraps around the cell body about 1.2 turns on average but can appear under the light microscopy to be >1.5 turns after the cells have been preserved. The shape of its apical groove, however, was stably an open-ended anticlockwise loop of kidney bean shape, similar to that of Polykrikos. Furthermore, the molecular phylogenetic analysis using 18S rRNA-ITS-28S rRNA gene cistron we obtained in this study also consistently placed this species closest to Polykrikos within the Gymnodinium sensu stricto clade and set it far separated from the clade of Cochlodinium. These results suggest that this species should be transferred to Polykrikos as Polykrikos geminatum. Our results reiterate the need to use the combination of apical groove morphology and molecular phylogeny for the classification of species within the genus of Cochlodinium and other Gymnodiniales lineages.
Phylogenetic trees have been constructed for a wide range of organisms using gene sequence information, especially through the identification of orthologous genes that have been vertically inherited. The number of available complete genome sequences is rapidly increasing, and many tools for construction of genome trees based on whole genome sequences have been proposed. However, development of a reasonable method of using complete genome sequences for construction of phylogenetic trees has not been established. We have developed a method for construction of phylogenetic trees based on the average sequence similarities of whole genome sequences. We used this method to examine the phylogeny of 115 photosynthetic prokaryotes, i.e., cyanobacteria, Chlorobi, proteobacteria, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes and nonphotosynthetic organisms including Archaea. Although the bootstrap values for the branching order of phyla were low, probably due to lateral gene transfer and saturated mutation, the obtained tree was largely consistent with the previously reported phylogenetic trees, indicating that this method is a robust alternative to traditional phylogenetic methods.
One mechanism by which marine organisms may respond to climate shifts is range shifts. The corkwing wrasse (Symphodus melops) is a temperate fish species, inhabiting the coasts of Europe, that show strong indications of current as well as historical (ice-age) range shifts towards the north. Nine neutral microsatellite DNA markers were screened to study genetic signatures and spatial population structure over the entire geographic and thermal gradient of the species from Portugal to Norway. A major genetic break (FST = 0.159 average among pairs) was identified between Scandinavian and more southern populations, with a marked reduction (30% or more) in levels of genetic variability in Scandinavia. The break is probably related to bottleneck(s) associated with post-glacial colonization of the Scandinavian coasts, and indicates a lack of present gene flow across the North Sea. The lack of gene flow can most likely be attributed to the species’ need for rocky substrate for nesting and a relatively short pelagic larval phase, limiting dispersal by ocean currents. These findings demonstrate that long-distance dispersal may be severely limited in the corkwing wrasse, and that successful range-shifts following present climate change may be problematic for this and other species with limited dispersal abilities, even in the seemingly continuous marine environment.
Marine ecosystems are undergoing substantial changes due to human-induced pressures. Analysis of long-term data series is a valuable tool for understanding naturally and anthropogenically induced changes in plankton communities. In the present study, seasonal monitoring data were collected in three sub-basins of the northern Baltic Sea between 1979 and 2011 and statistically analysed for trends and interactions between surface water hydrography, inorganic nutrient concentrations and phyto- and zooplankton community composition. The most conspicuous hydrographic change was a significant increase in late summer surface water temperatures over the study period. In addition, salinity decreased and dissolved inorganic nutrient concentrations increased in some basins. Based on redundancy analysis (RDA), warming was the key environmental factor explaining the observed changes in plankton communities: the general increase in total phytoplankton biomass, Cyanophyceae, Prymnesiophyceae and Chrysophyceae, and decrease in Cryptophyceae throughout the study area, as well as increase in rotifers and decrease in total zooplankton, cladoceran and copepod abundances in some basins. We conclude that the plankton communities in the Baltic Sea have shifted towards a food web structure with smaller sized organisms, leading to decreased energy available for grazing zooplankton and planktivorous fish. The shift is most probably due to complex interactions between warming, eutrophication and increased top-down pressure due to overexploitation of resources, and the resulting trophic cascades.
Legume-rhizobium symbiosis is a complex process that is regulated in the host plant cell through gene expression network. Many nodulin genes that are upregulated during different stages of nodulation have been identified in leguminous herbs. However, no nodulin genes in woody legume trees, such as black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), have yet been reported.
To identify the nodulin genes involved in R. pseudoacacia-Mesorhizobium amorphae CCNWGS0123 symbiosis, a suppressive subtractive hybridization approach was applied to reveal profiling of differentially expressed genes and two subtracted cDNA libraries each containing 600 clones were constructed. Then, 114 unigenes were identified from forward SSH library by differential screening and the putative functions of these translational products were classified into 13 categories. With a particular interest in regulatory genes, twenty-one upregulated genes encoding potential regulatory proteins were selected based on the result of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis. They included nine putative transcription genes, eight putative post-translational regulator genes and four membrane protein genes. The expression patterns of these genes were further analyzed by quantitative RT-PCR at different stages of nodule development.
The data presented here offer the first insights into the molecular foundation underlying R. pseudoacacia–M. amorphae symbiosis. A number of regulatory genes screened in the present study revealed a high level of regulatory complexity (transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational) that is likely essential to develop symbiosis. In addition, the possible roles of these genes in black locust nodulation are discussed.
Photobacterium profundum SS9 is a Gram-negative bacterium, originally collected from the Sulu Sea. Its genome consists of two chromosomes and a 80 kb plasmid. Although it can grow under a wide range of pressures, P. profundum grows optimally at 28 MPa and 15°C. Its ability to grow at atmospheric pressure allows for both easy genetic manipulation and culture, making it a model organism to study piezophily. Here, we report a shotgun proteomic analysis of P. profundum grown at atmospheric compared to high pressure using label-free quantitation and mass spectrometry analysis. We have identified differentially expressed proteins involved in high pressure adaptation, which have been previously reported using other methods. Proteins involved in key metabolic pathways were also identified as being differentially expressed. Proteins involved in the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway were up-regulated at high pressure. Conversely, several proteins involved in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway were up-regulated at atmospheric pressure. Some of the proteins that were differentially identified are regulated directly in response to the physical impact of pressure. The expression of some proteins involved in nutrient transport or assimilation, are likely to be directly regulated by pressure. In a natural environment, different hydrostatic pressures represent distinct ecosystems with their own particular nutrient limitations and abundances. However, the only variable considered in this study was atmospheric pressure.
Mariculture of tropical sea cucumbers is promising, but the nursery rearing of juveniles is a bottleneck for farming and sea ranching. We conducted four medium-scale experiments lasting 3–6 weeks, using thousands of cultured juvenile sandfish Holothuria scabra, to optimise nursery rearing in mesh enclosures in earthen seawater ponds and to test rearing in enclosures in the sea. In one experiment, survival in fine-mesh enclosures (1 m3; 660-µm mesh) related nonlinearly to juvenile size, revealing a threshold body length of 5–8 mm for initial transfer from hatchery tanks. Survival in enclosures within ponds in the other experiments ranged from 78–97%, and differences in growth rates among experiments were explained largely by seasonal differences in seawater temperatures in ponds. Stripped shadecloth units within fine-mesh enclosures increased feeding surfaces and improved growth rates by >15%. On the other hand, shading over the enclosures may lower growth rates. Following the rearing in fine-mesh enclosures, small juveniles (0.5 to 1 g) were grown to stocking size (3–10 g) in coarse-mesh enclosures of 1-mm mesh. Sand or mud added to coarse-mesh enclosures did not significantly improve growth compared to controls without sediment. Survival of sandfish juveniles in coarse-mesh enclosures set on the benthos within seagrass beds differed between two sheltered bays and growth was slow compared to groups within the same type of enclosures in an earthen pond. Our findings should lead to significant improvement in the cost-effectiveness of rearing sandfish juveniles to a stocking size compared to established methods and highlight the need for further research into nursery systems in the sea.