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1.  A global perspective on marine photosynthetic picoeukaryote community structure 
The ISME Journal  2013;7(5):922-936.
A central goal in ecology is to understand the factors affecting the temporal dynamics and spatial distribution of microorganisms and the underlying processes causing differences in community structure and composition. However, little is known in this respect for photosynthetic picoeukaryotes (PPEs), algae that are now recognised as major players in marine CO2 fixation. Here, we analysed dot blot hybridisation and cloning–sequencing data, using the plastid-encoded 16S rRNA gene, from seven research cruises that encompassed all four ocean biomes. We provide insights into global abundance, α- and β-diversity distribution and the environmental factors shaping PPE community structure and composition. At the class level, the most commonly encountered PPEs were Prymnesiophyceae and Chrysophyceae. These taxa displayed complementary distribution patterns, with peak abundances of Prymnesiophyceae and Chrysophyceae in waters of high (25:1) or low (12:1) nitrogen:phosphorus (N:P) ratio, respectively. Significant differences in phylogenetic composition of PPEs were demonstrated for higher taxonomic levels between ocean basins, using Unifrac analyses of clone library sequence data. Differences in composition were generally greater between basins (interbasins) than within a basin (intrabasin). These differences were primarily linked to taxonomic variation in the composition of Prymnesiophyceae and Prasinophyceae whereas Chrysophyceae were phylogenetically similar in all libraries. These data provide better knowledge of PPE community structure across the world ocean and are crucial in assessing their evolution and contribution to CO2 fixation, especially in the context of global climate change.
PMCID: PMC3635238  PMID: 23364354
photosynthetic picoeukaryotes; community structure; prymnesiophytes; chrysophytes; global scale
2.  Short-term responses of unicellular planktonic eukaryotes to increases in temperature and UVB radiation 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:202.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3478981  PMID: 22966751
Small eukaryotes; Molecular diversity; Temperature; UVB radiation; Microcosms experiment; Mediterranean lagoon
3.  Metagenomes of the Picoalga Bathycoccus from the Chile Coastal Upwelling 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39648.
Among small photosynthetic eukaryotes that play a key role in oceanic food webs, picoplanktonic Mamiellophyceae such as Bathycoccus, Micromonas, and Ostreococcus are particularly important in coastal regions. By using a combination of cell sorting by flow cytometry, whole genome amplification (WGA), and 454 pyrosequencing, we obtained metagenomic data for two natural picophytoplankton populations from the coastal upwelling waters off central Chile. About 60% of the reads of each sample could be mapped to the genome of Bathycoccus strain from the Mediterranean Sea (RCC1105), representing a total of 9 Mbp (sample T142) and 13 Mbp (sample T149) of non-redundant Bathycoccus genome sequences. WGA did not amplify all regions uniformly, resulting in unequal coverage along a given chromosome and between chromosomes. The identity at the DNA level between the metagenomes and the cultured genome was very high (96.3% identical bases for the three larger chromosomes over a 360 kbp alignment). At least two to three different genotypes seemed to be present in each natural sample based on read mapping to Bathycoccus RCC1105 genome.
PMCID: PMC3382182  PMID: 22745802
4.  Plastid 16S rRNA Gene Diversity among Eukaryotic Picophytoplankton Sorted by Flow Cytometry from the South Pacific Ocean 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18979.
The genetic diversity of photosynthetic picoeukaryotes was investigated in the South East Pacific Ocean. Genetic libraries of the plastid 16S rRNA gene were constructed on picoeukaryote populations sorted by flow cytometry, using two different primer sets, OXY107F/OXY1313R commonly used to amplify oxygenic organisms, and PLA491F/OXY1313R, biased towards plastids of marine algae. Surprisingly, the two sets revealed quite different photosynthetic picoeukaryote diversity patterns, which were moreover different from what we previously reported using the 18S rRNA nuclear gene as a marker. The first 16S primer set revealed many sequences related to Pelagophyceae and Dictyochophyceae, the second 16S primer set was heavily biased toward Prymnesiophyceae, while 18S sequences were dominated by Prasinophyceae, Chrysophyceae and Haptophyta. Primer mismatches with major algal lineages is probably one reason behind this discrepancy. However, other reasons, such as DNA accessibility or gene copy numbers, may be also critical. Based on plastid 16S rRNA gene sequences, the structure of photosynthetic picoeukaryotes varied along the BIOSOPE transect vertically and horizontally. In oligotrophic regions, Pelagophyceae, Chrysophyceae, and Prymnesiophyceae dominated. Pelagophyceae were prevalent at the DCM depth and Chrysophyceae at the surface. In mesotrophic regions Pelagophyceae were still important but Chlorophyta contribution increased. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a new clade of Prasinophyceae (clade 16S-IX), which seems to be restricted to hyper-oligotrophic stations. Our data suggest that a single gene marker, even as widely used as 18S rRNA, provides a biased view of eukaryotic communities and that the use of several markers is necessary to obtain a complete image.
PMCID: PMC3084246  PMID: 21552558
5.  Community Structure and Dynamics of Small Eukaryotes Targeted by New Oligonucleotide Probes: New Insight into the Lacustrine Microbial Food Web▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(19):6373-6381.
The seasonal dynamics of the small eukaryotic fraction (cell diameter, 0.2 to 5 μm) was investigated in a mesotrophic lake by tyramide signal amplification-fluorescence in situ hybridization targeting seven different phylogenetic groups: Chlorophyceae, Chrysophyceae, Cryptophyceae, Cercozoa, LKM11, Perkinsozoa (two clades), and Fungi. The abundance of small eukaryotes ranged from 1,692 to 10,782 cells ml−1. The dominant groups were the Chrysophyceae and the Chlorophyceae, which represented 19.6% and 17.9% of small eukaryotes, respectively. The results also confirmed the quantitative importance of putative parasites, Fungi and Perkinsozoa, in the small heterotrophic eukaryotic assemblage. The relative abundances recorded for the Perkinsozoa group reached as much as 31.6% of total targeted eukaryotes during the summer. The dynamics of Perkinsozoa clade 1 coincided with abundance variations in Peridinium and Ceratium spp. (Dinoflagellates), while the dynamics of Perkinsozoa clade 2 was linked to the presence of Dinobryon spp. (Chrysophyceae). Fungi, represented by chytrids, reached maximal abundance in December (569 cells ml−1) and were mainly correlated with the dynamics of diatoms, especially Melosira varians. A further new finding of this study is the recurrent presence of Cercozoa (6.2%) and LKM11 (4.5%) cells. This quantitative approach based on newly designed probes offers a promising means of in-depth analysis of microbial food webs in lakes, especially by revealing the phylogenetic composition of the small heterotrophic flagellate assemblage, for which an important fraction of cells are generally unidentified by classical microscopy (on average, 96.8% of the small heterotrophic flagellates were identified by the specific probes we used in this study).
PMCID: PMC2753085  PMID: 19666727
6.  Unexpected Importance of Potential Parasites in the Composition of the Freshwater Small-Eukaryote Community▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(10):2940-2949.
The diversity of small eukaryotes (0.2 to 5 μm) in a mesotrophic lake (Lake Bourget) was investigated using 18S rRNA gene library construction and fluorescent in situ hybridization coupled with tyramide signal amplification (TSA-FISH). Samples collected from the epilimnion on two dates were used to extend a data set previously obtained using similar approaches for lakes with a range of trophic types. A high level of diversity was recorded for this system with intermediate trophic status, and the main sequences from Lake Bourget were affiliated with ciliates (maximum, 19% of the operational taxonomic units [OTUs]), cryptophytes (33%), stramenopiles (13.2%), and cercozoa (9%). Although the comparison of TSA-FISH results and clone libraries suggested that the level of Chlorophyceae may have been underestimated using PCR with 18S rRNA primers, heterotrophic organisms dominated the small-eukaryote assemblage. We found that a large fraction of the sequences belonged to potential parasites of freshwater phytoplankton, including sequences affiliated with fungi and Perkinsozoa. On average, these sequences represented 30% of the OTUs (40% of the clones) obtained for each of two dates for Lake Bourget. Our results provide information on lacustrine small-eukaryote diversity and structure, adding to the phylogenetic data available for lakes with various trophic types.
PMCID: PMC2394938  PMID: 18359836
7.  Succession and Regulation Factors of Small Eukaryote Community Composition in a Lacustrine Ecosystem (Lake Pavin) 
The structure and dynamics of small eukaryotes (cells with a diameter less than 5 μm) were studied over two consecutive years in an oligomesotrophic lake (Lake Pavin in France). Water samples were collected at 5 and 30 m below the surface; when the lake was stratified, these depths corresponded to the epilimnion and hypolimnion. Changes in small-eukaryote structure were analyzed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) and cloning and sequencing of the 18S rRNA genes. Terminal restriction fragments from clones were used to reveal the dominant taxa in T-RFLP profiles of the environmental samples. Spumella-like cells (Chrysophyceae) did not dominate the small eukaryote community identified by molecular techniques in lacustrine ecosystems. Small eukaryotes appeared to be dominated by heterotrophic cells, particularly Cercozoa, which represented nearly half of the identified phylotypes, followed by the Fungi-LKM11 group (25%), choanoflagellates (10.3%) and Chrysophyceae (8.9%). Bicosoecida, Cryptophyta, and ciliates represented less than 9% of the community studied. No seasonal reproducibility in temporal evolution of the small-eukaryote community was observed from 1 year to the next. The T-RFLP patterns were related to bottom-up (resources) and top-down (grazing) variables using canonical correspondence analysis. The results showed a strong top-down regulation of small eukaryotes by zooplankton, more exactly, by cladocerans at 5 m and copepods at 30 m. Among bottom-up factors, temperature had a significant effect at both depths. The concentrations of nitrogenous nutrients and total phosphorus also had an effect on small-eukaryote dynamics at 5 m, whereas bacterial abundance and dissolved oxygen played a more important structuring role in the deeper zone.
PMCID: PMC1449018  PMID: 16598004
8.  Genetic Diversity of Small Eukaryotes in Lakes Differing by Their Trophic Status 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(10):5935-5942.
Small eukaryotes, cells with a diameter of less than 5 μm, are fundamental components of lacustrine planktonic systems. In this study, small-eukaryote diversity was determined by sequencing cloned 18S rRNA genes in three libraries from lakes of differing trophic status in the Massif Central, France: the oligotrophic Lake Godivelle, the oligomesotrophic Lake Pavin, and the eutrophic Lake Aydat. This analysis shows that the least diversified library was in the eutrophic lake (12 operational taxonomic units [OTUs]) and the most diversified was in the oligomesotrophic lake (26 OTUs). Certain groups were present in at least two ecosystems, while the others were specific to one lake on the sampling date. Cryptophyta, Chrysophyceae, and the strictly heterotrophic eukaryotes, Ciliophora and fungi, were identified in the three libraries. Among the small eukaryotes found only in two lakes, Choanoflagellida and environmental sequences (LKM11) were not detected in the eutrophic system whereas Cercozoa were confined to the oligomesotrophic and eutrophic lakes. Three OTUs, linked to the Perkinsozoa, were detected only in the Aydat library, where they represented 60% of the clones of the library. Chlorophyta and Haptophyta lineages were represented by a single clone and were present only in Godivelle and Pavin, respectively. Of the 127 clones studied, classical pigmented organisms (autotrophs and mixotrophs) represented only a low proportion regardless of the library's origin. This study shows that the small-eukaryote community composition may differ as a function of trophic status; certain lineages could be detected only in a single ecosystem.
PMCID: PMC1266003  PMID: 16204507

Results 1-8 (8)