Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bacteria surrounding coral reefs change in synchrony, even across great distance

15.04.2019

In coral reef ecosystems, amid stony corals, fronds of algae and schools of fish, microorganisms are essential for recycling nutrients--transforming bits of organic matter into forms of nitrogen and phosphorus, for example, that are useful to photosynthetic organisms.

A study published today in Nature Communications by researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU), the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and others revealed that the bacteria present in the water overlying dozens of coral reefs changed dramatically during the night, and then returned to the same daytime community as observed the morning before. Further, as if these communities were all privy to the same schedule, these changes were synchronized across reefs separated by hundreds of miles.


Measuring reef processes on Millennium Atoll.

Credit: Jennifer Smith

Usage Restrictions: Image may only be used with appropriate caption and credit.

"Investigations of day-night rhythms of reef processes are required to holistically understand the functional roles of microbial players in these ecosystems," said Linda Wegley Kelly, adjunct assistant research professor at SDSU and co-lead author of the study.

In 2013, an international team of researchers conducted a cruise to the Southern Line Islands, a remote chain of equatorial islands south of Hawai'i, to measure a suite of reef processes. To avoid the hazards of boating and dive operations at night, an autonomous sampler was designed to collect a water sample just above the coral reef at midnight.

Collecting samples in this way, the researchers measured changes in the water chemistry and the types of microbes present compared to the daytime at numerous sites. The team also used genomic tools to show how these community changes determine the microbial processes in reefs that differ day and night.

"Previous studies of marine microbes have shown that different functional groups change their activity over the day, but microbial populations remain relatively constant over diel cycles," said Craig Nelson, assistant professor of oceanography at the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and study co-lead.

"Those who study reefs know that these ecosystems change significantly from day to night, but this study reveals one previously invisible aspect of that change: a dramatic and predictable shift--not only in what microbes are doing--but which groups are most abundant."

The team discovered that a group of microbes called Psychrobacter appears to be leading the way. Surprisingly, Psychrobacter can make up 40-70% of the marine microbial community during the day, and is a hundred-times more abundant than during the night. But what is influencing Psychrobacter?

"The changes we observed in microbe composition over a day-night cycle imply that coral reef habitats manipulate the surrounding seawater - both the chemistry and microbiology - based on the diurnal and nocturnal activities of the collective local biota," said Kelly. "This function may modulate the number of microbes in the water, promote cycling of energy through the reef food web, or provide stabilizing effects to the ecosystem."

"This research team is among the first to look at changes in the microbial communities of coral reefs through both day and night," says Dan Thornhill, a program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the study. "These scientists found surprising and remarkable differences in microorganisms depending on the time of day. The study also uncovered the important role of nighttime microbes in recycling nutrients on reefs."

Given the apparent importance of Psychrobacter, the team next seeks to assemble its genome, isolate the bacterium in culture, and further examine the biology of this organism.

Ongoing work by the authors is showing how reef condition--that is, healthy or stressed, dominance of coral or algae--can alter the number and types of microbes in the surrounding seawater. This highlights the environmental consequences of altering reef benthic habitats; where loss of the foundational calcifying organisms eliminates processes which impact the coastal waters that provide connectivity between land and sea.

Media Contact

Marcie Grabowski
mworkman@hawaii.edu
808-956-3151

 @UHManoaNews

http://manoa.hawaii.edu 

Marcie Grabowski | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biophysicists reveal how optogenetic tool works
29.05.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

nachricht Mapping immune cells in brain tumors
29.05.2020 | University of Zurich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

Im Focus: New double-contrast technique picks up small tumors on MRI

Early detection of tumors is extremely important in treating cancer. A new technique developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The work is published May 25 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from...

Im Focus: I-call - When microimplants communicate with each other / Innovation driver digitization - "Smart Health“

Microelectronics as a key technology enables numerous innovations in the field of intelligent medical technology. The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT coordinates the BMBF cooperative project "I-call" realizing the first electronic system for ultrasound-based, safe and interference-resistant data transmission between implants in the human body.

When microelectronic systems are used for medical applications, they have to meet high requirements in terms of biocompatibility, reliability, energy...

Im Focus: When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

Thomas Heine, Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, together with his team, first predicted a topological 2D polymer in 2019. Only one year later, an international team led by Italian researchers was able to synthesize these materials and experimentally prove their topological properties. For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other...

Im Focus: Rolling into the deep

Scientists took a leukocyte as the blueprint and developed a microrobot that has the size, shape and moving capabilities of a white blood cell. Simulating a blood vessel in a laboratory setting, they succeeded in magnetically navigating the ball-shaped microroller through this dynamic and dense environment. The drug-delivery vehicle withstood the simulated blood flow, pushing the developments in targeted drug delivery a step further: inside the body, there is no better access route to all tissues and organs than the circulatory system. A robot that could actually travel through this finely woven web would revolutionize the minimally-invasive treatment of illnesses.

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black nitrogen: Bayreuth researchers discover new high-pressure material and solve a puzzle of the periodic table

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Argonne researchers create active material out of microscopic spinning particles

29.05.2020 | Materials Sciences

Smart windows that self-illuminate on rainy days

29.05.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>