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1.  Enumerating Viruses in Coral Mucus 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(17):6377-6379.
The distribution of viruses inhabiting the coral mucus remains undetermined, as there is no suitable standardized procedure for their separation from this organic matrix, principally owing to its viscosity and autofluorescence. Seven protocols were tested, and the most efficient separations were obtained from a chemical treatment requiring potassium citrate.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01141-12
PMCID: PMC3416620  PMID: 22729548
2.  Short-term responses of unicellular planktonic eukaryotes to increases in temperature and UVB radiation 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:202.
Background
Small size eukaryotes play a fundamental role in the functioning of coastal ecosystems, however, the way in which these micro-organisms respond to combined effects of water temperature, UVB radiations (UVBR) and nutrient availability is still poorly investigated.
Results
We coupled molecular tools (18S rRNA gene sequencing and fingerprinting) with microscope-based identification and counting to experimentally investigate the short-term responses of small eukaryotes (<6 μm; from a coastal Mediterranean lagoon) to a warming treatment (+3°C) and UVB radiation increases (+20%) at two different nutrient levels. Interestingly, the increase in temperature resulted in higher pigmented eukaryotes abundances and in community structure changes clearly illustrated by molecular analyses. For most of the phylogenetic groups, some rearrangements occurred at the OTUs level even when their relative proportion (microscope counting) did not change significantly. Temperature explained almost 20% of the total variance of the small eukaryote community structure (while UVB explained only 8.4%). However, complex cumulative effects were detected. Some antagonistic or non additive effects were detected between temperature and nutrients, especially for Dinophyceae and Cryptophyceae.
Conclusions
This multifactorial experiment highlights the potential impacts, over short time scales, of changing environmental factors on the structure of various functional groups like small primary producers, parasites and saprotrophs which, in response, can modify energy flow in the planktonic food webs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-202
PMCID: PMC3478981  PMID: 22966751
Small eukaryotes; Molecular diversity; Temperature; UVB radiation; Microcosms experiment; Mediterranean lagoon
3.  Contrasted Effects of Diversity and Immigration on Ecological Insurance in Marine Bacterioplankton Communities 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e37620.
The ecological insurance hypothesis predicts a positive effect of species richness on ecosystem functioning in a variable environment. This effect stems from temporal and spatial complementarity among species within metacommunities coupled with optimal levels of dispersal. Despite its importance in the context of global change by human activities, empirical evidence for ecological insurance remains scarce and controversial. Here we use natural aquatic bacterial communities to explore some of the predictions of the spatial and temporal aspects of the ecological insurance hypothesis. Addressing ecological insurance with bacterioplankton is of strong relevance given their central role in fundamental ecosystem processes. Our experimental set up consisted of water and bacterioplankton communities from two contrasting coastal lagoons. In order to mimic environmental fluctuations, the bacterioplankton community from one lagoon was successively transferred between tanks containing water from each of the two lagoons. We manipulated initial bacterial diversity for experimental communities and immigration during the experiment. We found that the abundance and production of bacterioplankton communities was higher and more stable (lower temporal variance) for treatments with high initial bacterial diversity. Immigration was only marginally beneficial to bacterial communities, probably because microbial communities operate at different time scales compared to the frequency of perturbation selected in this study, and of their intrinsic high physiologic plasticity. Such local “physiological insurance” may have a strong significance for the maintenance of bacterial abundance and production in the face of environmental perturbations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037620
PMCID: PMC3373509  PMID: 22701572
4.  Disentangling the relative influence of bacterioplankton phylogeny and metabolism on lysogeny in reservoirs and lagoons 
The ISME journal  2010;5(5):831-842.
Previous studies indicate that lysogeny is preponderant when environmental conditions are challenging for the bacterial communities and when their metabolism is reduced. Furthermore, it appears that lysogeny is more frequent within certain bacterial phylogenetic groups. In this comparative study from 10 freshwater reservoirs and 10 coastal lagoons, we aim to disentangle the influence of these different factors. In eight reservoirs and four lagoons, lysogeny was detected by induction assays with mitomycin C, and induction significantly modified the bacterial community composition (BCC), whereas community composition remained constant in ecosystems in which lysogeny was not observed. Among the phylogenetic groups studied, the most abundant ones were Bacteroidetes and α-proteobacteria in lagoons, and β-proteobacteria and Bacteroidetes in reservoirs. These dominant groups comprised the highest proportions of inducible lysogens. In order to unravel the effects of bacterial metabolism from phylogeny on lysogeny, we measured bacterial community physiology and the specific activities of selected phylogenetic groups. The proportion of inducible lysogens within the α- and the β-proteobacteria decreased with increasing group-specific metabolism in lagoons and reservoirs, respectively. In contrast, this relationship was not observed for the other lysogen-containing groups. Hence, both host physiology and phylogeny are critical for the establishment of lysogeny. This study illustrates the importance of lysogeny among the most abundant phylogenetic groups, and further suggests its strong structuring impact on BCC.
doi:10.1038/ismej.2010.181
PMCID: PMC3105773  PMID: 21124489
aquatic ecosystems; bacterial community composition; bacterial physiology; lysogeny; MAR-FISH; temperate phages
5.  Trade-Offs between Competition and Defense Specialists among Unicellular Planktonic Organisms: the “Killing the Winner” Hypothesis Revisited 
Summary: A trade-off between strategies maximizing growth and minimizing losses appears to be a fundamental property of evolving biological entities existing in environments with limited resources. In the special case of unicellular planktonic organisms, the theoretical framework describing the trade-offs between competition and defense specialists is known as the “killing the winner” hypothesis (KtW). KtW describes how the availability of resources and the actions of predators (e.g., heterotrophic flagellates) and parasites (e.g., viruses) determine the composition and biogeochemical impact of such organisms. We extend KtW conceptually by introducing size- or shape-selective grazing of protozoans on prokaryotes into an idealized food web composed of prokaryotes, lytic viruses infecting prokaryotes, and protozoans. This results in a hierarchy analogous to a Russian doll, where KtW principles are at work on a lower level due to selective viral infection and on an upper level due to size- or shape-selective grazing by protozoans. Additionally, we critically discuss predictions and limitations of KtW in light of the recent literature, with particular focus on typically neglected aspects of KtW. Many aspects of KtW have been corroborated by in situ and experimental studies of isolates and natural communities. However, a thorough test of KtW is still hampered by current methodological limitations. In particular, the quantification of nutrient uptake rates of the competing prokaryotic populations and virus population-specific adsorption and decay rates appears to be the most daunting challenge for the years to come.
doi:10.1128/MMBR.00034-09
PMCID: PMC2832346  PMID: 20197498

Results 1-5 (5)