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1.  Temporal variability and coherence of euphotic zone bacterial communities over a decade in the Southern California Bight 
The ISME Journal  2013;7(12):2259-2273.
Time-series are critical to understanding long-term natural variability in the oceans. Bacterial communities in the euphotic zone were investigated for over a decade at the San Pedro Ocean Time-series station (SPOT) off southern California. Community composition was assessed by Automated Ribosomal Intergenic Spacer Analysis (ARISA) and coupled with measurements of oceanographic parameters for the surface ocean (0–5 m) and deep chlorophyll maximum (DCM, average depth ∼30 m). SAR11 and cyanobacterial ecotypes comprised typically more than one-third of the measured community; diversity within both was temporally variable, although a few operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were consistently more abundant. Persistent OTUs, mostly Alphaproteobacteria (SAR11 clade), Actinobacteria and Flavobacteria, tended to be abundant, in contrast to many rarer yet intermittent and ephemeral OTUs. Association networks revealed potential niches for key OTUs from SAR11, cyanobacteria, SAR86 and other common clades on the basis of robust correlations. Resilience was evident by the average communities drifting only slightly as years passed. Average Bray-Curtis similarity between any pair of dates was ∼40%, with a slight decrease over the decade and obvious near-surface seasonality; communities 8–10 years apart were slightly more different than those 1–4 years apart with the highest rate of change at 0–5 m between communities <4 years apart. The surface exhibited more pronounced seasonality than the DCM. Inter-depth Bray-Curtis similarities repeatedly decreased as the water column stratified each summer. Environmental factors were better predictors of shifts in community composition than months or elapsed time alone; yet, the best predictor was community composition at the other depth (that is, 0–5 m versus DCM).
PMCID: PMC3834854  PMID: 23864126
marine bacterioplankton; ARISA; community ecology; microbe–microbe interactions; time series
2.  Short-term observations of marine bacterial and viral communities: patterns, connections and resilience 
The ISME Journal  2013;7(7):1274-1285.
Observation of short-term temporal variation in bacterial and viral communities is important for understanding patterns of aquatic microbial diversity. We collected surface seawater once daily for 38 consecutive days with seven more samples interspersed over 40 more days at one location ∼2 km from Santa Catalina Island, California. Bacterial communities were analyzed by automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) and viral communities were analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) of the conserved T4-like myoviral gene encoding the major capsid protein (g23). Common bacterial and viral taxa were consistently dominant, and relatively few displayed dramatic increases/decreases or ‘boom/bust' patterns that might be expected from dynamic predator-prey interactions. Association network analysis showed most significant covariations (associations) occurred among bacterial taxa or among viral taxa and there were several modular (highly-interconnected) associations (P⩽0.005). Associations observed between bacteria and viruses (P⩽0.005) occurred with a median time lag of 2 days. Regression of all pairwise Bray-Curtis similarities between samples indicated a rate of bacterial community change that slows from 2.1%–0.18% per day over a week to 2 months; the rate stays around 0.4% per day for viruses. Our interpretation is that, over the scale of days, individual bacterial and viral OTUs can be dynamic and patterned; resulting in statistical associations regarded as potential ecological interactions. However, over the scale of weeks, average bacterial community variation is slower, suggesting that there is strong community-level ecological resilience, that is, a tendency to converge towards a ‘mean' microbial community set by longer-term controlling factors.
PMCID: PMC3695287  PMID: 23446831
ARISA; bacteria; marine; T4-like myovirus; network; time-series
3.  Marine bacterial, archaeal and protistan association networks reveal ecological linkages 
The ISME Journal  2011;5(9):1414-1425.
Microbes have central roles in ocean food webs and global biogeochemical processes, yet specific ecological relationships among these taxa are largely unknown. This is in part due to the dilute, microscopic nature of the planktonic microbial community, which prevents direct observation of their interactions. Here, we use a holistic (that is, microbial system-wide) approach to investigate time-dependent variations among taxa from all three domains of life in a marine microbial community. We investigated the community composition of bacteria, archaea and protists through cultivation-independent methods, along with total bacterial and viral abundance, and physico-chemical observations. Samples and observations were collected monthly over 3 years at a well-described ocean time-series site of southern California. To find associations among these organisms, we calculated time-dependent rank correlations (that is, local similarity correlations) among relative abundances of bacteria, archaea, protists, total abundance of bacteria and viruses and physico-chemical parameters. We used a network generated from these statistical correlations to visualize and identify time-dependent associations among ecologically important taxa, for example, the SAR11 cluster, stramenopiles, alveolates, cyanobacteria and ammonia-oxidizing archaea. Negative correlations, perhaps suggesting competition or predation, were also common. The analysis revealed a progression of microbial communities through time, and also a group of unknown eukaryotes that were highly correlated with dinoflagellates, indicating possible symbioses or parasitism. Possible ‘keystone' species were evident. The network has statistical features similar to previously described ecological networks, and in network parlance has non-random, small world properties (that is, highly interconnected nodes). This approach provides new insights into the natural history of microbes.
PMCID: PMC3160682  PMID: 21430787
co-occurrence patterns; stramenopiles; dinoflagellates; SAR11; cyanobacteria; time series
5.  Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y chromosomes within haplogroup R1a 
Human Y-chromosome haplogroup structure is largely circumscribed by continental boundaries. One notable exception to this general pattern is the young haplogroup R1a that exhibits post-Glacial coalescent times and relates the paternal ancestry of more than 10% of men in a wide geographic area extending from South Asia to Central East Europe and South Siberia. Its origin and dispersal patterns are poorly understood as no marker has yet been described that would distinguish European R1a chromosomes from Asian. Here we present frequency and haplotype diversity estimates for more than 2000 R1a chromosomes assessed for several newly discovered SNP markers that introduce the onset of informative R1a subdivisions by geography. Marker M434 has a low frequency and a late origin in West Asia bearing witness to recent gene flow over the Arabian Sea. Conversely, marker M458 has a significant frequency in Europe, exceeding 30% in its core area in Eastern Europe and comprising up to 70% of all M17 chromosomes present there. The diversity and frequency profiles of M458 suggest its origin during the early Holocene and a subsequent expansion likely related to a number of prehistoric cultural developments in the region. Its primary frequency and diversity distribution correlates well with some of the major Central and East European river basins where settled farming was established before its spread further eastward. Importantly, the virtual absence of M458 chromosomes outside Europe speaks against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India, at least since the mid-Holocene.
PMCID: PMC2987245  PMID: 19888303
Y chromosome; haplogroup R1a; human evolution; population genetics

Results 1-5 (5)