Phylogenetic affiliation and quantification of psychrophilic sulfate-reducing isolates in marine Arctic sediments.
Thirteen psychrophilic sulfate-reducing isolates from two permanently cold fjords of the Arctic island Spitsbergen (Hornsund and Storfjord) were phylogenetically analyzed. They all belonged to the delta subclass of Proteobacteria and were widely distributed within this group, indicating that psychrophily is a polyphyletic property. A new 16S rRNA-directed oligonucleotide probe was designed against the largest coherent cluster of these isolates. The new probe, as well as a set of available probes, was applied in rRNA slot blot hybridization to investigate the composition of the sulfate-reducing bacterial community in the sediments. rRNA related to the new cluster of incompletely oxidizing, psychrophilic isolates made up 1.4 to 20.9% of eubacterial rRNA at Storfjord and 0.6 to 3. 5% of eubacterial rRNA at Hornsund. This group was the second-most-abundant group of sulfate reducers at these sites. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and hybridization analysis showed bands identical to those produced by our isolates. The data indicate that the psychrophilic isolates are quantitatively important in Svalbard sediments. (+info)
High bacterial diversity in permanently cold marine sediments.
A 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) clone library from permanently cold marine sediments was established. Screening 353 clones by dot blot hybridization with group-specific oligonucleotide probes suggested a predominance of sequences related to bacteria of the sulfur cycle (43.4% potential sulfate reducers). Within this fraction, the major cluster (19.0%) was affiliated with Desulfotalea sp. and other closely related psychrophilic sulfate reducers isolated from the same habitat. The cloned sequences showed between 93 and 100% similarity to these bacteria. Two additional groups were frequently encountered: 13% of the clones were related to Desulfuromonas palmitatis, and a second group was affiliated with Myxobacteria spp. and Bdellovibrio spp. Many clones (18.1%) belonged to the gamma subclass of the class Proteobacteria and were closest to symbiotic or free-living sulfur oxidizers. Probe target groups were further characterized by amplified rDNA restriction analysis to determine diversity within the groups and within the clone library. Rarefaction analysis suggested that the total diversity assessed by 16S rDNA analysis was very high in these permanently cold sediments and was only partially revealed by screening of 353 clones. (+info)
Community size and metabolic rates of psychrophilic sulfate-reducing bacteria in Arctic marine sediments.
The numbers of sulfate reducers in two Arctic sediments with in situ temperatures of 2.6 and -1.7 degrees C were determined. Most-probable-number counts were higher at 10 degrees C than at 20 degrees C, indicating the predominance of a psychrophilic community. Mean specific sulfate reduction rates of 19 isolated psychrophiles were compared to corresponding rates of 9 marine, mesophilic sulfate-reducing bacteria. The results indicate that, as a physiological adaptation to the permanently cold Arctic environment, psychrophilic sulfate reducers have considerably higher specific metabolic rates than their mesophilic counterparts at similarly low temperatures. (+info)
Distribution patterns of marine bird digenean larvae in periwinkles along the southern coast of the Barents Sea.
An important component of the parasite fauna of seabirds in arctic regions are the flukes (Digena). Different species of digeneans have life cycles which may consist of 1 intermediate host and no free-living larval stages, 2 intermediate hosts and 1 free-living stage, or 2 intermediate hosts and 2 free-living larval stages. This study examined the distribution of such parasites in the intertidal zones of the southern coast of the Barents Sea (northwestern Russia and northern Norway) by investigating 2 species of periwinkles (Littorina saxatilis and L. obtusata) which are intermediate hosts of many species of digeneans. A total of 26,020 snails from 134 sampling stations were collected. The study area was divided into 5 regions, and the number of species, frequency of occurrence and prevalence of different digenean species and groups of species (depending on life cycle complexity) were compared among these regions, statistically controlling for environmental exposure. We found 14 species of digeneans, of which 13 have marine birds as final hosts. The number of species per sampling station increased westwards, and was higher on the Norwegian coast than on the Russian coast. The frequency of occurrence of digeneans with more than 1 intermediate host increased westwards, making up a larger proportion of the digeneans among infected snails. This was significant in L. saxatilis. The prevalence of different species showed the same pattern, and significantly more snails of both species were infected with digeneans with complicated life cycles in the western regions. In L. saxatilis, environmental exposure had a statistically significant effect on the distribution of the most common digenean species. This was less obvious in L. obtusata. The causes of changing species composition between regions are probably (1) the harsh climate in the eastern part of the study area reducing the probability of successful transmission of digeneans with complicated life cycles, and (2) the distribution of different final hosts. (+info)
Psychrophilic sulfate-reducing bacteria isolated from permanently cold arctic marine sediments: description of Desulfofrigus oceanense gen. nov., sp. nov., Desulfofrigus fragile sp. nov., Desulfofaba gelida gen. nov., sp. nov., Desulfotalea psychrophila gen. nov., sp. nov. and Desulfotalea arctica sp. nov.
Five psychrophilic, Gram-negative, sulfate-reducing bacteria were isolated from marine sediments off the coast of Svalbard. All isolates grew at the in situ temperature of -1.7 degrees C. In batch cultures, strain PSv29T had the highest growth rate at 7 degrees C, strains ASv26T and LSv54T had the highest growth rate at 10 degrees C, and strains LSv21T and LSv514T had the highest growth rate at 18 degrees C. The new isolates used the most common fermentation products in marine sediments, such as acetate, propionate, butyrate, lactate and hydrogen, but only strain ASv26T was able to oxidize fatty acids completely to CO2. The new strains had growth optima at neutral pH and marine salt concentration, except for LSv54T which grew fastest with 1% NaCl. Sulfite and thiosulfate were used as electron acceptors by strains ASv26T, PSv29T and LSv54T, and all strains except PSv29T grew with Fe3+ (ferric citrate) as electron acceptor. Chemotaxonomy based on cellular fatty acid patterns and menaquinones showed good agreement with the phylogeny based on 16S rRNA sequences. All strains belonged to the delta subclass of Proteobacteria but had at least 9% evolutionary distance from known sulfate reducers. Due to the phylogenetic and phenotypic differences between the new isolates and their closest relatives, establishment of the new genera Desulfotalea gen. nov., Desulfofaba gen. nov. and Desulfofrigus gen. nov. is proposed, with strain ASv26T as the type strain of the type species Desulfofrigus oceanense sp. nov., LSv21T as the type strain of Desulfofrigus fragile sp. nov., PSv29T as the type strain of the type species Desulfofaba gelida sp. nov., LSv54T as the type strain of the type species Desulfotalea psychrophila sp. nov. and LSv514T as the type strain of Desulfotalea arctica sp. nov. (+info)
Population genetics of ice age brown bears.
The Pleistocene was a dynamic period for Holarctic mammal species, complicated by episodes of glaciation, local extinctions, and intercontinental migration. The genetic consequences of these events are difficult to resolve from the study of present-day populations. To provide a direct view of population genetics in the late Pleistocene, we measured mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in seven permafrost-preserved brown bear (Ursus arctos) specimens, dated from 14,000 to 42,000 years ago. Approximately 36,000 years ago, the Beringian brown bear population had a higher genetic diversity than any extant North American population, but by 15,000 years ago genetic diversity appears similar to the modern day. The older, genetically diverse, Beringian population contained sequences from three clades now restricted to local regions within North America, indicating that current phylogeographic patterns may provide misleading data for evolutionary studies and conservation management. The late Pleistocene phylogeographic data also indicate possible colonization routes to areas south of the Cordilleran ice sheet. (+info)
Susceptibility to infections and immune status in Inuit infants exposed to organochlorines.
We investigated whether organochlorine exposure is associated with the incidence of infectious diseases in Inuit infants from Nunavik (Arctic Quebec, Canada). We compiled the number of infectious disease episodes during the first year of life for 98 breast-fed and 73 bottle-fed infants. Concentrations of organochlorines were measured in early breast milk samples and used as surrogates to prenatal exposure levels. Immune system parameters were determined in venous blood samples collected from infants at 3, 7, and 12 months of age. Otitis media was the most frequent disease, with 80. 0% of breast-fed and 81.3% of bottle-fed infants experiencing at least one episode during the first year of life. During the second follow-up period, the risk of otitis media increased with prenatal exposure to p,p'-DDE, hexachlorobenzene, and dieldrin. The relative risk (RR) for 4- to 7-month-old infants in the highest tertile of p, p'-DDE exposure as compared to infants in the lowest tertile was 1. 87 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-3.26]. The RR of otitis media over the entire first year of life also increased with prenatal exposure to p,p'-DDE (RR, 1.52; CI, 1.05-2.22) and hexachlorobenzene (RR, 1.49; CI, 1.10-2.03). Furthermore, the RR of recurrent otitis media ( [Greater/equal to] 3 episodes) increased with prenatal exposure to these compounds. No clinically relevant differences were noted between breast-fed and bottle-fed infants with regard to immunologic parameters, and prenatal organochlorine exposure was not associated with immunologic parameters. We conclude that prenatal organochlorine exposure could be a risk factor for acute otitis media in Inuit infants. (+info)
Persistence of bat defence reactions in high Arctic moths (Lepidoptera).
We investigated the bat defence reactions of three species of moths (Gynaephora groenlandica, Gynaephora rossi (Lymantriidae) and Psychophora sabini (Geometridae)) in the Canadian Arctic archipelago. Since these moths inhabit the Arctic tundra and, therefore, are most probably spatially isolated from bats, their hearing and associated defensive reactions are probably useless and would therefore be expected to disappear with ongoing adaptation to Arctic conditions. When exposed to bat-like ultrasound (26 kHz and 110 dB sound pressure level root mean square at 1 m) flying male Gynaephora spp. always reacted defensively by rapidly reversing their flight course. They could hear the sound and reacted at least 15-25 m away. Psychophora sabini walking on a surface froze at distances of at least 5-7 m from the sound source. However, two out of three individuals of this species (all males) did not respond in any way to the sound while in flight. Hence, we found evidence of degeneration of bat defence reactions, i.e. adaptation to the bat-free environment, in P. sabini but not in Gynaephora spp. Some Arctic moths (Gynaephora spp.) still possess defensive reactions against bats, possibly because the selection pressure for the loss of the trait is such that it declines only very slowly (perhaps by genetic drift; and there may not have been enough time for the trait to disappear. One possible reason may be that Arctic moths have long generation times. (+info)