Four kingdoms on glacier ice: convergent energetic processes boost energy levels as temperatures fall.
A diverse group of glacially obligate organisms coexist on temperate glaciers between Washington State and Alaska. A fundamental challenge for these and other cold-adapted species is the necessity to maintain an energy flux capable of sustaining life at low physiological temperatures. We show here that ice-adapted psychrophiles from four kingdoms (Animalia, Eubacteria, Fungi, Protista) respond to temperature fluctuations in a similar manner; namely, ATP levels and the total adenylate pool increase as temperatures fall (within their viable temperature limits, respectively), yet growth rate increases with temperature. By contrast, mesophilic representatives of each kingdom respond in an opposite manner (i.e. adenylates increase with temperature). These observations suggest that elevated adenylate levels in psychrophiles may offset inherent reductions in molecular diffusion at low physiological temperatures. (+info)
Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits, southern California.
The Rancho La Brea tar pit fossil collection includes Juniperus (C3) wood specimens that 14C date between 7.7 and 55 thousand years (kyr) B.P., providing a constrained record of plant response for southern California during the last glacial period. Atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) ranged between 180 and 220 ppm during glacial periods, rose to approximately 280 ppm before the industrial period, and is currently approaching 380 ppm in the modern atmosphere. Here we report on delta13C of Juniperus wood cellulose, and show that glacial and modern trees were operating at similar leaf-intercellular [CO2](ci)/atmospheric [CO2](ca) values. As a result, glacial trees were operating at ci values much closer to the CO2-compensation point for C3 photosynthesis than modern trees, indicating that glacial trees were undergoing carbon starvation. In addition, we modeled relative humidity by using delta18O of cellulose from the same Juniperus specimens and found that glacial humidity was approximately 10% higher than that in modern times, indicating that differences in vapor-pressure deficits did not impose additional constrictions on ci/ca in the past. By scaling ancient ci values to plant growth by using modern relationships, we found evidence that C3 primary productivity was greatly diminished in southern California during the last glacial period. (+info)
Diversification before the most recent glaciation in Balanus glandula.
A deep genetic cline between southern populations of the barnacle Balanus glandula (from about Monterey Bay southward) and northern populations (from northern California through Alaska) has recently been described. If this pattern is due to historical isolation and genetic drift, we expect it to have formed recently and represent a transient, nonequilibrium state. However, this cline appears to have formed well before the last glacial maximum. Our assays of sequence diversity at a region of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I, combined with coalescent estimators of the time of separation for these two regions, suggest that a late Pleistocene event more than 100 thousand years ago may be responsible for the initial separation. This suggests that either strong oceanographic mechanisms or natural selection have maintained the cline, because there has clearly been adequate time for this cline or polymorphism to resolve itself by genetic drift and migration. However, reliance on only a single mitochondrial marker for which the substitution rate has been estimated still limits the resolution of our analysis. (+info)
Pedobacter himalayensis sp. nov., from the Hamta glacier located in the Himalayan mountain ranges of India.
Strain HHS 22(T) was isolated from a glacial water sample from the snout of the Hamta glacier located in the Himalayan mountain ranges of India. Phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic analyses established the affiliation of the isolate to the genus Pedobacter. HHS 22(T) exhibits high 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with Pedobacter cryoconitis (98 %). However, the level of DNA-DNA relatedness between HHS 22(T) and P. cryoconitis is only 42 %. Furthermore, HHS 22(T) differs from P. cryoconitis and the four other recognized species of Pedobacter in a number of phenotypic characteristics. These data suggest that HHS 22(T) represents a novel species of the genus Pedobacter, for which the name Pedobacter himalayensis sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is HHS 22(T) (= JCM 12171(T) = MTCC 6384(T)). (+info)
Effects of incubation temperature on growth and production of exopolysaccharides by an antarctic sea ice bacterium grown in batch culture.
The sea ice microbial community plays a key role in the productivity of the Southern Ocean. Exopolysaccharide (EPS) is a major component of the exopolymer secreted by many marine bacteria to enhance survival and is abundant in sea ice brine channels, but little is known about its function there. This study investigated the effects of temperature on EPS production in batch culture by CAM025, a marine bacterium isolated from sea ice sampled from the Southern Ocean. Previous studies have shown that CAM025 is a member of the genus Pseudoalteromonas and therefore belongs to a group found to be abundant in sea ice by culture-dependent and -independent techniques. Batch cultures were grown at -2 degrees C, 10 degrees C, and 20 degrees C, and cell number, optical density, pH, glucose concentration, and viscosity were monitored. The yield of EPS at -2 degrees C and 10 degrees C was 30 times higher than at 20 degrees C, which is the optimum growth temperature for many psychrotolerant strains. EPS may have a cryoprotective role in brine channels of sea ice, where extremes of high salinity and low temperature impose pressures on microbial growth and survival. The EPS produced at -2 degrees C and 10 degrees C had a higher uronic acid content than that produced at 20 degrees C. The availability of iron as a trace metal is of critical importance in the Southern Ocean, where it is known to limit primary production. EPS from strain CAM025 is polyanionic and may bind dissolved cations such at trace metals, and therefore the presence of bacterial EPS in the Antarctic marine environment may have important ecological implications. (+info)
Novel members of the family Flavobacteriaceae from Antarctic maritime habitats including Subsaximicrobium wynnwilliamsii gen. nov., sp. nov., Subsaximicrobium saxinquilinus sp. nov., Subsaxibacter broadyi gen. nov., sp. nov., Lacinutrix copepodicola gen. nov., sp. nov., and novel species of the genera Bizionia, Gelidibacter and Gillisia.
Several orange- and yellow-pigmented, halophilic, strictly aerobic, chemoheterotrophic, Gram-negative strains were isolated during investigations of maritime Antarctic habitats, including coastal fast sea-ice brine and algae, crustaceans and quartz stone sublithic cyanobacterial biofilms. Isolates investigated in this study belonged to the marine clade of the family Flavobacteriaceae and represented lineages that were either distinct from species with validly published names or appeared to be distinct species within existing genera. A polyphasic taxonomic analysis demonstrated the novelty of these strains, and several new taxa are proposed. Strains from quartz stone sublithic communities were grouped into two new genera designated Subsaximicrobium gen. nov. and Subsaxibacter gen. nov. The genus Subsaximicrobium included the species Subsaximicrobium wynnwilliamsii sp. nov. (type species; type strain G#7(T)=ACAM 1070(T)=CIP 108525(T)) and Subsaximicrobium saxinquilinus sp. nov. (type strain Y4-5(T)=ACAM 1063(T)=CIP 108526(T)). The genus Subsaxibacter contained a single species designated Subsaxibacter broadyi sp. nov. (type strain P7(T)=ACAM 1064(T)=CIP 108527(T)). A novel bacterial strain isolated from the lake-dwelling, calanoid copepod Paralabidocera antarctica was given the name Lacinutrix copepodicola gen. nov., sp. nov. (type strain DJ3(T)=ACAM 1055(T)=CIP 108538(T)). Four novel species of the genus Bizionia were discovered, Bizionia algoritergicola sp. nov. (type strain APA-1(T)=ACAM 1056(T)=CIP 108533(T)) and Bizionia myxarmorum sp. nov. (type strain ADA-4(T)=ACAM 1058(T)=CIP 108535(T)), which were isolated from the carapace surfaces of sea-ice algae-feeding amphipods, and Bizionia gelidisalsuginis sp. nov. (type strain IC164(T)=ACAM 1057(T)=CIP 108536(T)) and Bizionia saleffrena sp. nov. (type strain HFD(T)=ACAM 1059(T)=CIP 108534(T)), which were isolated from sea-ice brines. Several other novel species were also isolated from sea-ice samples, including two novel species of the genus Gelidibacter, Gelidibacter gilvus sp. nov. (type strain IC158(T)=ACAM 1054(T)=CIP 108531(T)) and Gelidibacter salicanalis sp. nov. (type strain IC162(T)=ACAM 1053(T)=CIP 108532(T)), as well as three novel species of the genus Gillisia, Gillisia illustrilutea sp. nov. (type strain IC157(T)=ACAM 1062(T)=CIP 108530(T)), Gillisia sandarakina sp. nov. (type strain IC148(T)=ACAM 1060(T)=CIP 108529(T)) and Gillisia hiemivivida sp. nov. (type strain IC154(T)=ACAM 1061(T)=CIP 108528(T)). (+info)
The Paleoproterozoic snowball Earth: a climate disaster triggered by the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis.
Although biomarker, trace element, and isotopic evidence have been used to claim that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved by 2.8 giga-annum before present (Ga) and perhaps as early as 3.7 Ga, a skeptical examination raises considerable doubt about the presence of oxygen producers at these times. Geological features suggestive of oxygen, such as red beds, lateritic paleosols, and the return of sedimentary sulfate deposits after a approximately 900-million year hiatus, occur shortly before the approximately 2.3-2.2 Ga Makganyene "snowball Earth" (global glaciation). The massive deposition of Mn, which has a high redox potential, practically requires the presence of environmental oxygen after the snowball. New age constraints from the Transvaal Supergroup of South Africa suggest that all three glaciations in the Huronian Supergroup of Canada predate the Snowball event. A simple cyanobacterial growth model incorporating the range of C, Fe, and P fluxes expected during a partial glaciation in an anoxic world with high-Fe oceans indicates that oxygenic photosynthesis could have destroyed a methane greenhouse and triggered a snowball event on time-scales as short as 1 million years. As the geological evidence requiring oxygen does not appear during the Pongola glaciation at 2.9 Ga or during the Huronian glaciations, we argue that oxygenic cyanobacteria evolved and radiated shortly before the Makganyene snowball. (+info)
16S rRNA sequences and differences in bacteria isolated from the Muztag Ata glacier at increasing depths.
Small subunit 16S rRNA sequences, growth temperatures, and phylogenetic relationships have been established for 129 bacterial isolates recovered under aerobic growth conditions from different regions of a 22-m ice core from the Muztag Ata Mountain glacier on the Pamirs Plateau (China). Only 11% were psychrophiles (grew at 2 degrees C or -2 degrees C up to approximately 20 degrees C), although the majority (82%) were psychrotolerant (grew at 2 degrees C or -2 degrees C up to 37 degrees C). The majority of the isolates had 16S rRNA sequences similar to previously determined sequences, ranging from 85% to 100% identical to database sequences. Based on their 16S rRNA sequences, 42.6% of the isolates were high-G+C (HGC) gram-positive bacteria, 23.3% were gamma-Proteobacteria, 14.7% were alpha-Proteobacteria, 14.7% were Flavobacteria, and 4.7% were low-G+C (LGC) gram-positive bacteria. There were clear differences in the depth distribution, with Proteobacteria, HGC/Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides (CFB), Proteobacteria, LGC/CFB/HGC, Cryobacterium psychrophilum, HGC/CFB, Proteobacteria/HGC/CFB, and HGC/CFB being the predominant isolates from ice that originated from 2.7 to 3.8, 6.2, 7.5, 8.3, 9.0, 9.7, 12.5, and 15.3 m below the surface, respectively. This layered distribution of bacterial isolates presumably reflects both differences in bacteria inhabiting the glacier's surface, differences in bacteria deposited serendipitously on the glacier's surface by wind and snowfall, and nutrient availability within the ice. (+info)