Phaeocystis globosa is an alga forming harmful blooms in the coastal waters of the North Sea. The decay of algal biomass at the end of the bloom leads to massive release of organic matter, which in turn stimulates the growth of a variety of heterotrophic gamma- and alpha-proteobacteria.
‘An important source of mortality for these algae are lytic P. globosa viruses. We therefore investigated how algal viral infection and subsequent lysis affects the community structure of the associated bacteria,’ explains Dr. Abdul R. Sheik, the lead author of this study.
In control experiments they showed that the bacterial composition of infected algal cultures differed from non-infected cultures after 5 hours. In order to understand the underlying mechanism Dr. Sheik and colleagues monitored the uptake of the released organic material by the bacterioplankton using isotopically-labeled algal biomass (with isotopes of nitrogen and carbon).
Assimilation of the substrate was quantified in single bacterial cells using imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) with a sub-micrometer spatial resolution. ‘Surprisingly, we saw colonization of algal cells and uptake of labeled carbon and nitrogen by Alteromonas cells long before the algal cells lysed’, explains Abdul Sheik. ‘This suggests that infected but still intact algae can already shape the microbial community composition by excretion or leakage of organic matter.’
The bacterial turnover of algal products was so rapid that ca. 40% of the particulate organic carbon was re-mineralized to CO2 within one week after infection, leaving behind refractive material in the form of cellular star-like structures (see Figure).
These results reveal a new pathway in the transfer of algal biomass to the bacterioplankton and, in a larger picture, new mechanism of retaining carbon in the euphotic zone.
Dr. Abdul R. Sheik, +352 46 66 44 5746, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Marcel Kuypers, +49 421 2028602, email@example.com
Dr. Manfred Schloesser, +49 421 2028704, firstname.lastname@example.org
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Dynamics, Amsterdam
Responses of the coastal bacterial community to viral infection of the algae Phaeocystis globosa
Abdul R. Sheik, Corina P. D. Brussaard, Gaute Lavik, Phyllis Lam, Niculina Musat, Andreas Krupke, Sten Littmann, Marc Strous and Marcel M. M. Kuypers
Dr. Manfred Schloesser | Source: Max-Planck-Institut
Further information: www.mpi-bremen.de
More articles from Life Sciences:
Molecular snapshot of the plant immune system’s signal box
11.12.2013 | Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Köln
Successful Teamwork: Unusual fungal metabolites with antitumor activity discovered by crowdsourcing
11.12.2013 | Angewandte Chemie International Edition
The molecular architecture of three key proteins and their complexes reveals how plants fine-tune their immune response to pathogens
Plants rarely get sick in their natural environment. When the threat of infection arises, a quick decision is made about the necessary countermeasures. The course is set by a protein which forms complexes with its partner proteins for this purpose.
Jane Parker from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding ...
Researchers studying speciation of butterfly orchids on the Azores have been startled to discover that the answer to a long-debated question "Do the islands support one species or two species?" is actually "three species".
Hochstetter's Butterfly-orchid, newly recognized following application of a battery of scientific techniques and reveling in a complex taxonomic history worthy of Sherlock Holmes, is arguably Europe's rarest orchid species. Under threat in its mountain-top retreat, the orchid urgently requires conservation recognition.
A lavishly illustrated publication, titled "Systematic revision of Platanthera in ...
Researchers from Brown University and the University of Hawaii have found some mineralogical surprises in the Moon's largest impact crater.
Data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper that flew aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter shows a diverse mineralogy in the subsurface of the giant South Pole Aitken basin.
The differing mineral signatures could be reflective of the minerals dredged up at the time of the giant impact 4 billion years ago, ...
In power electronics systems bonded connections create the central electrical connections between adjoining surfaces.
The quality of these bonded connections is one of the main factors that determines the reliability and availability of drive systems in electric vehicles, and hence constitutes a major design challenge for German auto manufacturers aiming to electrify their vehicles.
Now the partners participating in the RoBE (Robust Bonds in ...
International team of scientists develops new feedback method for optimizing the laser pulse shapes used in the control of chemical reactions
In many ways, traditional chemical synthesis is similar to cooking. To alter the final product, you can change the ingredients or their ratio, change the method of mixing ingredients, or change the temperature or pressure of the environment of the ingredients.
Like an accomplished chef, chemists have become very skilled ...
11.12.2013 | Information Technology
11.12.2013 | Life Sciences
11.12.2013 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
11.12.2013 | Event News
10.12.2013 | Event News
05.12.2013 | Event News