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Stuart, RK, Bundy R, Buck K, Ghassemain M, Barbeau K, Palenik B.  2017.  Copper toxicity response influences mesotrophic Synechococcus community structure. Environmental Microbiology. 19:756-769.   10.1111/1462-2920.13630   AbstractWebsite

Picocyanobacteria from the genus Synechococcus are ubiquitous in ocean waters. Their phylogenetic and genomic diversity suggests ecological niche differentiation, but the selective forces influencing this are not well defined. Marine picocyanobacteria are sensitive to Cu toxicity, so adaptations to this stress could represent a selective force within, and between, species', also known as clades. Here, we compared Cu stress responses in cultures and natural populations of marine Synechococcus from two co-occurring major mesotrophic clades (I and IV). Using custom microarrays and proteomics to characterize expression responses to Cu in the lab and field, we found evidence for a general stress regulon in marine Synechococcus. However, the two clades also exhibited distinct responses to copper. The Clade I representative induced expression of genomic island genes in cultures and Southern California Bight populations, while the Clade IV representative downregulated Fe-limitation proteins. Copper incubation experiments suggest that Clade IV populations may harbour stress-tolerant subgroups, and thus fitness tradeoffs may govern Cu-tolerant strain distributions. This work demonstrates that Synechococcus has distinct adaptive strategies to deal with Cu toxicity at both the clade and subclade level, implying that metal toxicity and stress response adaptations represent an important selective force for influencing diversity within marine Synechococcus populations.

Barbeau, K, Kujawinski EB, Moffett JW.  2001.  Remineralization and recycling of iron, thorium and organic carbon by heterotrophic marine protists in culture. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 24:69-81.   10.3354/ame024069   AbstractWebsite

To characterize trace metal cycling in marine systems as mediated by heterotrophic protists, we conducted a series of laboratory experiments in 2-organism model systems consisting of bacteria and protistan grazers. Trace metal isotopes (Fe-59 and Th-234),C-14, and bulk organic carbon measurements were used to follow the chemical transformation of bacterial carbon and associated trace metals by several different grazer species. Results indicate that grazers were able to cause repartitioning of Th and regeneration of Fe from bacterial prey into the dissolved phase (<0.2 m), even in particle-rich laboratory cultures. For both Th and Fe, protist grazing led to the formation of relatively stable dissolved and colloidal metal-organic species. Metal/carbon ratios of the particle pool in some model systems with grazers were significantly altered, indicating a decoupling of trace metal and organic carbon cycling through the grazing process. Different protist species exhibited substantial variation (up to a factor of 10) in their ability to quantitatively remobilize trace metals from bacterial prey. The implications of these findings for trace metal cycling in marine systems are discussed.