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  • European Marine Science
  • 2019-2023
  • Open Access
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  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; +5 Authors

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

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    Authors: Marron, Alan; Cassarino, Lucie; Hatton, Jade; Curnow, Paul; +1 Authors

    The marine silicon cycle is intrinsically linked with carbon cycling in the oceans via biological production of silica by a wide range of organisms. The stable silicon isotopic composition (denoted by δ30Si) of siliceous microfossils extracted from sediment cores can be used as an archive of past oceanic silicon cycling. However, the silicon isotopic composition of biogenic silica has only been measured in diatoms, sponges and radiolarians, and isotopic fractionation relative to seawater is entirely unknown for many other silicifiers. Furthermore, the biochemical pathways and mechanisms that determine isotopic fractionation during biosilicification remain poorly understood. Here, we present the first measurements of the silicon isotopic fractionation during biosilicification by loricate choanoflagellates, a group of protists closely related to animals. We cultured two species of choanoflagellates, Diaphanoeca grandis and Stephanoeca diplocostata, which showed consistently greater isotopic fractionation (approximately −5 ‰ to −7 ‰) than cultured diatoms (−0.5 ‰ to −2.1 ‰). Instead, choanoflagellate silicon isotopic fractionation appears to be more similar to sponges grown under similar dissolved silica concentrations. Our results highlight that there is a taxonomic component to silicon isotope fractionation during biosilicification, possibly via a shared or related biochemical transport pathway. These findings have implications for the use of biogenic silica δ30Si produced by different silicifiers as proxies for past oceanic change.

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    Authors: Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; +3 Authors

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

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    Authors: Coffinet Sarah; Meador Travis; Mühlena Lukas; Becker Kevin W; +6 Authors

    Butanetriol and pentanetriol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (BDGTs and PDGTs) are membrane lipids, recently discovered in sedimentary environments and in the methanogenic archaeon Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis. They possess an unusual structure, which challenges fundamental assumptions in lipid biochemistry. Indeed, they bear a butanetriol or a pentanetriol backbone instead of a glycerol at one end of their core structure. In this study, we unambiguously located the additional methyl group of the BDGT compound on the C3 carbon of the lipid backbone via high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments. We further systematically explored the abundance, distribution and isotopic composition of BDGTs and PDGTs as both intact polar and core lipid forms in marine sediments collected in contrasting environments of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. High proportions of intact polar BDGTs and PDGTs in the deeper methane-laden sedimentary layers and relatively 13C-depleted BDGTs, especially in the Rhone Delta and in the Black Sea, are in agreement with a probable methanogenic source for these lipids. However, contributions from heterotrophic Archaea to BDGTs (and PDGTs) cannot be excluded, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and contrasting BDGT and PDGT headgroup distribution patterns were observed between the different sites studied. This points to additional, non-methanogenic, archaeal sources for these lipids.

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    Authors: Stratmann, Tanja; Lins, Lidia; Purser, Autun; Marcon, Yann; +8 Authors

    Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the “DISturbance and reCOLonization” (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22 % of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54 % of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6 % inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5 % lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The “total system throughput” (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10−3 ± 1.58 × 10−5 mmol C m−2 d−1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56 %. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

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5 Research products
  • image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/
    Authors: Vries, Joost; Monteiro, Fanny; Wheeler, Glen; Poulton, Alex; +5 Authors

    Coccolithophores are globally important marine calcifying phytoplankton that utilize a haplo-diplontic life cycle. The haplo-diplontic life cycle allows coccolithophores to divide in both life cycle phases and potentially expands coccolithophore niche volume. Research has, however, to date largely overlooked the life cycle of coccolithophores and has instead focused on the diploid life cycle phase of coccolithophores. Through the synthesis and analysis of global scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coccolithophore abundance data (n=2534), we find that calcified haploid coccolithophores generally constitute a minor component of the total coccolithophore abundance (≈ 2 %–15 % depending on season). However, using case studies in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, we show that, depending on environmental conditions, calcifying haploid coccolithophores can be significant contributors to the coccolithophore standing stock (up to ≈30 %). Furthermore, using hypervolumes to quantify the niche of coccolithophores, we illustrate that the haploid and diploid life cycle phases inhabit contrasting niches and that on average this allows coccolithophores to expand their niche by ≈18.8 %, with a range of 3 %–76 % for individual species. Our results highlight that future coccolithophore research should consider both life cycle stages, as omission of the haploid life cycle phase in current research limits our understanding of coccolithophore ecology. Our results furthermore suggest a different response to nutrient limitation and stratification, which may be of relevance for further climate scenarios. Our compilation highlights the spatial and temporal sparsity of SEM measurements and the need for new molecular techniques to identify uncalcified haploid coccolithophores. Our work also emphasizes the need for further work on the carbonate chemistry niche of the coccolithophore life cycle.

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    Authors: Marron, Alan; Cassarino, Lucie; Hatton, Jade; Curnow, Paul; +1 Authors

    The marine silicon cycle is intrinsically linked with carbon cycling in the oceans via biological production of silica by a wide range of organisms. The stable silicon isotopic composition (denoted by δ30Si) of siliceous microfossils extracted from sediment cores can be used as an archive of past oceanic silicon cycling. However, the silicon isotopic composition of biogenic silica has only been measured in diatoms, sponges and radiolarians, and isotopic fractionation relative to seawater is entirely unknown for many other silicifiers. Furthermore, the biochemical pathways and mechanisms that determine isotopic fractionation during biosilicification remain poorly understood. Here, we present the first measurements of the silicon isotopic fractionation during biosilicification by loricate choanoflagellates, a group of protists closely related to animals. We cultured two species of choanoflagellates, Diaphanoeca grandis and Stephanoeca diplocostata, which showed consistently greater isotopic fractionation (approximately −5 ‰ to −7 ‰) than cultured diatoms (−0.5 ‰ to −2.1 ‰). Instead, choanoflagellate silicon isotopic fractionation appears to be more similar to sponges grown under similar dissolved silica concentrations. Our results highlight that there is a taxonomic component to silicon isotope fractionation during biosilicification, possibly via a shared or related biochemical transport pathway. These findings have implications for the use of biogenic silica δ30Si produced by different silicifiers as proxies for past oceanic change.

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    Authors: Paradis, Sarah; Pusceddu, Antonio; Masqué, Pere; Puig, Pere; +3 Authors

    Bottom trawling in the deep sea is one of the main drivers of sediment resuspension, eroding the seafloor and altering the content and composition of sedimentary organic matter (OM). The physical and biogeochemical impacts of bottom trawling were studied on the continental slope of the Gulf of Castellammare, Sicily (southwestern Mediterranean), through the analysis of two triplicate sediment cores collected at trawled and untrawled sites (∼550 m water depth) during the summer of 2016. Geochemical and sedimentological parameters (excess 210Pb, excess 234Th, 137Cs, dry bulk density, and grain size), elemental (organic carbon and nitrogen) and biochemical composition of sedimentary OM (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids), as well as its freshness (phytopigments) and degradation rates were determined in both coring locations. The untrawled site had a sedimentation rate of 0.15 cm yr−1 and presented a 6 cm thick surface mixed layer that contained siltier sediment with low excess 210Pb concentrations, possibly resulting from the resuspension, posterior advection, and eventual deposition of coarser and older sediment from adjacent trawling grounds. In contrast, the trawled site was eroded and presented compacted century-old sediment highly depleted in OM components, which were between 20 % and 60 % lower than those in the untrawled site. However, the upper 2 cm of the trawled site consisted of recently accumulated sediments enriched in excess 234Th, excess 210Pb, and phytopigments, while OM contents were similar to those from the untrawled core. This fresh sediment supported protein turnover rates of 0.025 d−1, which doubled those quantified in surface sediments of the untrawled site. The enhancement of remineralization rates in surface sediment of the trawled site was associated with the arrival of fresh particles on a chronically trawled deep-sea region that is generally deprived of OM. We conclude that the detrimental effects of bottom trawling can be temporarily and partially abated by the arrival of fresh and nutritionally rich OM, which stimulate the response of benthic communities. However, these ephemeral deposits are likely to be swiftly eroded due to the high trawling frequency over fishing grounds, highlighting the importance of establishing science-based management strategies to mitigate the impacts of bottom trawling.

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    Authors: Coffinet Sarah; Meador Travis; Mühlena Lukas; Becker Kevin W; +6 Authors

    Butanetriol and pentanetriol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (BDGTs and PDGTs) are membrane lipids, recently discovered in sedimentary environments and in the methanogenic archaeon Methanomassiliicoccus luminyensis. They possess an unusual structure, which challenges fundamental assumptions in lipid biochemistry. Indeed, they bear a butanetriol or a pentanetriol backbone instead of a glycerol at one end of their core structure. In this study, we unambiguously located the additional methyl group of the BDGT compound on the C3 carbon of the lipid backbone via high-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments. We further systematically explored the abundance, distribution and isotopic composition of BDGTs and PDGTs as both intact polar and core lipid forms in marine sediments collected in contrasting environments of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. High proportions of intact polar BDGTs and PDGTs in the deeper methane-laden sedimentary layers and relatively 13C-depleted BDGTs, especially in the Rhone Delta and in the Black Sea, are in agreement with a probable methanogenic source for these lipids. However, contributions from heterotrophic Archaea to BDGTs (and PDGTs) cannot be excluded, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and contrasting BDGT and PDGT headgroup distribution patterns were observed between the different sites studied. This points to additional, non-methanogenic, archaeal sources for these lipids.

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    Authors: Stratmann, Tanja; Lins, Lidia; Purser, Autun; Marcon, Yann; +8 Authors

    Future deep-sea mining for polymetallic nodules in abyssal plains will negatively impact the benthic ecosystem, but it is largely unclear whether this ecosystem will be able to recover from mining disturbance and if so, to what extent and at what timescale. During the “DISturbance and reCOLonization” (DISCOL) experiment, a total of 22 % of the seafloor within a 10.8 km2 circular area of the nodule-rich seafloor in the Peru Basin (SE Pacific) was ploughed in 1989 to bury nodules and mix the surface sediment. This area was revisited 0.1, 0.5, 3, 7, and 26 years after the disturbance to assess macrofauna, invertebrate megafauna and fish density and diversity. We used this unique abyssal faunal time series to develop carbon-based food web models for each point in the time series using the linear inverse modeling approach for sediments subjected to two disturbance levels: (1) outside the plough tracks; not directly disturbed by plough, but probably suffered from additional sedimentation; and (2) inside the plough tracks. Total faunal carbon stock was always higher outside plough tracks compared with inside plough tracks. After 26 years, the carbon stock inside the plough tracks was 54 % of the carbon stock outside plough tracks. Deposit feeders were least affected by the disturbance, with modeled respiration, external predation, and excretion rates being reduced by only 2.6 % inside plough tracks compared with outside plough tracks after 26 years. In contrast, the respiration rate of filter and suspension feeders was 79.5 % lower in the plough tracks after 26 years. The “total system throughput” (T..), i.e., the total sum of modeled carbon flows in the food web, was higher throughout the time series outside plough tracks compared with the corresponding inside plough tracks area and was lowest inside plough tracks directly after the disturbance (8.63 × 10−3 ± 1.58 × 10−5 mmol C m−2 d−1). Even 26 years after the DISCOL disturbance, the discrepancy of T.. between outside and inside plough tracks was still 56 %. Hence, C cycling within the faunal compartments of an abyssal plain ecosystem remains reduced 26 years after physical disturbance, and a longer period is required for the system to recover from such a small-scale sediment disturbance experiment.

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