Variation in sediment and seagrass characteristics reflect multiple stressors along a nitrogen-enrichment gradient in a New England lagoon
Haviland, Katherine Ann; Howarth, Robert W.; Marino, Roxanne; Hayn, Melanie
We examined concentrations of organic carbon, dissolved sulfides, total sediment sulfur, and stable sulfur isotope ratios in seagrass leaf tissues across a nitrogen-enrichment gradient in a coastal marine ecosystem (Cape Cod, Massachusetts) in 2007–2010 and 2017–2019. We also measured seagrass aboveground and belowground biomass, epibiota biomass, and leaf chlorophyll content. Seagrasses were present at all sites in the former period but were lost at our most nitrogen-impacted site (Snug Harbor) by 2011. In 2007–2010, sediment organic carbon and dissolved sulfides were highest in Snug Harbor and decreased along the gradient; leaf tissues depleted in 34S also indicated higher sulfide intrusion into seagrass tissues in more eutrophic areas. By 2017–2019, sediment organic carbon and pore-water soluble sulfides had decreased in Snug Harbor, but had increased at the intermediate site, to levels found at the most impacted site prior to the seagrass die-off. Again, leaf tissue 34S depletion reflected this pattern, indicating seagrasses were exposed to the highest sulfides at the intermediate site. The decreases in sediment organic carbon and soluble sulfides in Snug Harbor years after the loss of the seagrasses illustrate a feedback between high organic matter in seagrass beds and increasing stressors like elevated soluble sulfides in nutrient-enriched systems. We found significant relationships between sediment conditions and seagrass responses, including greater aboveground to belowground biomass ratios, epibiota biomass, and 34S-depleted leaves at sites with high pore-water sulfide and highly organic sediments. Our research suggests that the reduction of anthropogenic nitrogen entering the harbor is necessary for improving sediment quality and preventing seagrass mortality.
© The Author(s), 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Haviland, K. A., Howarth, R. W., Marino, R., & Hayn, M. Variation in sediment and seagrass characteristics reflect multiple stressors along a nitrogen-enrichment gradient in a New England lagoon. Limnology and Oceanography, 67, (2022): 660-667, https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.12025.
Editorial: microbial communities and metabolisms involved in the degradation of cellular and extracellular organic biopolymers
Ruff, S. Emil
Most organic matter on Earth occurs in the form of macromolecules and complex biopolymers, which include the building blocks of every organism. Plant, animal, fungal, and microbial cells largely consist of macromolecules belonging to four compound classes: proteins, polysaccharides, nucleic acids, and lipids (Figure 1). The percentage of these compounds per dry weight can vary greatly between lineages, but also between individuals of the same species or developmental stages of the same organism. Living and lysing cells release a substantial quantity and variety of macromolecules to the environment. These compounds often contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur, in addition to carbon, and are thus ideal food sources for heterotrophic organisms. Although the degradation of biopolymers and macromolecules has received considerable attention, many knowledge gaps remain, particularly in very complex ecosystems such as soils and sediments.
© The Author(s), 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Ruff, S. E. Editorial: microbial communities and metabolisms involved in the degradation of cellular and extracellular organic biopolymers. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12, (2022): 802619, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.802619.
Common environmental pollutants negatively affect development and regeneration in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis holobiont
Klein, Sylvia; Frazier, Victoria; Readdean, Timothy; Lucas, Emily; Diaz-Jimenez, Erica P.; Sogin, Mitchell L.; Ruff, S. Emil; Echeverri, Karen
The anthozoan sea anemone Nematostella vectensis belongs to the phylum of cnidarians which also includes jellyfish and corals. Nematostella are native to United States East Coast marsh lands, where they constantly adapt to changes in salinity, temperature, oxygen concentration and pH. Its natural ability to continually acclimate to changing environments coupled with its genetic tractability render Nematostella a powerful model organism in which to study the effects of common pollutants on the natural development of these animals. Potassium nitrate, commonly used in fertilizers, and Phthalates, a component of plastics are frequent environmental stressors found in coastal and marsh waters. Here we present data showing how early exposure to these pollutants lead to dramatic defects in development of the embryos and eventual mortality possibly due to defects in feeding ability. Additionally, we examined the microbiome of the animals and identified shifts in the microbial community that correlated with the type of water that was used to grow the animals, and with their exposure to pollutants.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Klein, S., Frazier, V., Readdean, T., Lucas, E., Diaz-Jimenez, E. P., Sogin, M., Ruff, E. S., & Echeverri, K. Common environmental pollutants negatively affect development and regeneration in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis holobiont. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, (2021): 786037, https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.786037.
Modeling nitrous oxide emissions from large-scale intensive cropping systems in the southern Amazon
Costa, Ciniro; Galford, Gillian L.; Coe, Michael T.; Macedo, Marcia N.; Jankowski, KathiJo; O’Connell, Christine; Neill, Christopher
Nitrogen (N) fertilizer use is rapidly intensifying on tropical croplands and has the potential to increase emissions of the greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2O). Since about 2005 Mato Grosso (MT), Brazil has shifted from single-cropped soybeans to double-cropping soybeans with maize, and now produces 1.5% of the world's maize. This production shift required an increase in N fertilization, but the effects on N2O emissions are poorly known. We calibrated the process-oriented biogeochemical DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) model to simulate N2O emissions and crop production from soybean and soybean-maize cropping systems in MT. After model validation with field measurements and adjustments for hydrological properties of tropical soils, regional simulations suggested N2O emissions from soybean-maize cropland increased almost fourfold during 2001–2010, from 1.1 ± 1.1 to 4.1 ± 3.2 Gg 1014 N-N2O. Model sensitivity tests showed that emissions were spatially and seasonably variable and especially sensitive to soil bulk density and carbon content. Meeting future demand for maize using current soybean area in MT might require either (a) intensifying 3.0 million ha of existing single soybean to soybean-maize or (b) increasing N fertilization to ~180 kg N ha−1 on existing 2.3 million ha of soybean-maize area. The latter strategy would release ~35% more N2O than the first. Our modifications of the DNDC model will improve estimates of N2O emissions from agricultural production in MT and other tropical areas, but narrowing model uncertainty will depend on more detailed field measurements and spatial data on soil and cropping management.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Costa Jr, C., Galford, G. L., Coe, M. T., Macedo, M., Jankowski, K., O’Connell, C., & Neill, C. Modeling nitrous oxide emissions from large-scale intensive cropping systems in the southern Amazon. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, (2021): 701416. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.701416.
Model responses to CO(2) and warming are underestimated without explicit representation of Arctic small-mammal grazing
Rastetter, Edward B.; Griffin, Kevin L.; Rowe, Rebecca J.; Gough, Laura; McLaren, Jennie; Boelman, Natalie
We use a simple model of coupled carbon and nitrogen cycles in terrestrial ecosystems to examine how “explicitly representing grazers” vs. “having grazer effects implicitly aggregated in with other biogeochemical processes in the model” alters predicted responses to elevated carbon dioxide and warming. The aggregated approach can affect model predictions because grazer-mediated processes can respond differently to changes in climate compared with the processes with which they are typically aggregated. We use small-mammal grazers in a tundra as an example and find that the typical three-to-four-year cycling frequency is too fast for the effects of cycle peaks and troughs to be fully manifested in the ecosystem biogeochemistry. We conclude that implicitly aggregating the effects of small-mammal grazers with other processes results in an underestimation of ecosystem response to climate change, relative to estimations in which the grazer effects are explicitly represented. The magnitude of this underestimation increases with grazer density. We therefore recommend that grazing effects be incorporated explicitly when applying models of ecosystem response to global change.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Rastetter, E. B., Griffin, K. L., Rowe, R. J., Gough, L., McLaren, J. R., & Boelman, N. T. Model responses to CO(2) and warming are underestimated without explicit representation of Arctic small-mammal grazing. Ecological Applications, (2021): e02478, https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2478.
Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis
Pold, Grace; Baillargeon, Natalie; Lepe, Adan; Rastetter, Edward B.; Sistla, Seeta A.
Arctic tundra consists of diverse habitats that differ in dominant vegetation, soil moisture regimes, and relative importance of organic vs. inorganic nutrient cycling. The Arctic is also the most rapidly warming global area, with winter warming dominating. This warming is expected to have dramatic effects on tundra carbon and nutrient dynamics. We completed a meta-analysis of 166 experimental warming study papers to evaluate the hypotheses that warming changes tundra biogeochemical cycles in a habitat- and seasonally specific manner and that the carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycles will be differentially accelerated, leading to decoupling of elemental cycles. We found that nutrient availability and plant leaf stoichiometry responses to experimental warming were variable and overall weak, but that both gross primary productivity and the plant C pool tended to increase with growing season warming. The effects of winter warming on C fluxes did not extend into the growing season. Overall, although warming led to more consistent increases in C fluxes compared to N or P fluxes, evidence for decoupling of biogeochemical cycles is weak and any effect appears limited to heath habitats. However, data on many habitats are too sparse to be able to generalize how warming might decouple biogeochemical cycles, and too few year-round warming studies exist to ascertain whether the season under which warming occurs alters how ecosystems respond to warming. Coordinated field campaigns are necessary to more robustly document tundra habitat-specific responses to realistic climate warming scenarios in order to better understand the mechanisms driving this heterogeneity and identify the tundra habitats, communities, and soil pools most susceptible to warming.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Pold, G., Baillargeon, N., Lepe, A., Rastetter, E. B., & Sistla, S. A. Warming effects on arctic tundra biogeochemistry are limited but habitat-dependent: a meta-analysis. Ecosphere, 12(10), (2021): e03777, https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3777.
The transcriptional response of soil bacteria to long-term warming and short-term seasonal fluctuations in a terrestrial forest
Chowdhury, Priyanka Roy; Golas, Stefan M.; Alteio, Lauren V.; Stevens, Joshua T. E.; Billings, Andrew F.; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.; Melillo, Jerry M.; DeAngelis, Kristen M.
Terrestrial ecosystems are an important carbon store, and this carbon is vulnerable to microbial degradation with climate warming. After 30 years of experimental warming, carbon stocks in a temperate mixed deciduous forest were observed to be reduced by 30% in the heated plots relative to the controls. In addition, soil respiration was seasonal, as was the warming treatment effect. We therefore hypothesized that long-term warming will have higher expressions of genes related to carbohydrate and lipid metabolism due to increased utilization of recalcitrant carbon pools compared to controls. Because of the seasonal effect of soil respiration and the warming treatment, we further hypothesized that these patterns will be seasonal. We used RNA sequencing to show how the microbial community responds to long-term warming (~30 years) in Harvard Forest, MA. Total RNA was extracted from mineral and organic soil types from two treatment plots (+5°C heated and ambient control), at two time points (June and October) and sequenced using Illumina NextSeq technology. Treatment had a larger effect size on KEGG annotated transcripts than on CAZymes, while soil types more strongly affected CAZymes than KEGG annotated transcripts, though effect sizes overall were small. Although, warming showed a small effect on overall CAZymes expression, several carbohydrate-associated enzymes showed increased expression in heated soils (~68% of all differentially expressed transcripts). Further, exploratory analysis using an unconstrained method showed increased abundances of enzymes related to polysaccharide and lipid metabolism and decomposition in heated soils. Compared to long-term warming, we detected a relatively small effect of seasonal variation on community gene expression. Together, these results indicate that the higher carbohydrate degrading potential of bacteria in heated plots can possibly accelerate a self-reinforcing carbon cycle-temperature feedback in a warming climate.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Chowdhury, P. R., Golas, S. M., Alteio, L., Stevens, J. T. E., Billings, A. F., Blanchard, J. L., Melillo, J. M., & DeAngelis, K. M. The transcriptional response of soil bacteria to long-term warming and short-term seasonal fluctuations in a terrestrial forest. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12, (2021): 666558, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.666558.
Understanding the effects of climate change via disturbance on pristine arctic lakes-multitrophic level response and recovery to a 12-yr, low-level fertilization experiment
Budy, Phaedra; Pennock, Casey A.; Giblin, Anne E.; Luecke, Chris; White, Daniel L.; Kling, George W.
Effects of climate change-driven disturbance on lake ecosystems can be subtle; indirect effects include increased nutrient loading that could impact ecosystem function. We designed a low-level fertilization experiment to mimic persistent, climate change-driven disturbances (deeper thaw, greater weathering, or thermokarst failure) delivering nutrients to arctic lakes. We measured responses of pelagic trophic levels over 12 yr in a fertilized deep lake with fish and a shallow fishless lake, compared to paired reference lakes, and monitored recovery for 6 yr. Relative to prefertilization in the deep lake, we observed a maximum pelagic response in chl a (+201%), dissolved oxygen (DO, −43%), and zooplankton biomass (+88%) during the fertilization period (2001–2012). Other responses to fertilization, such as water transparency and fish relative abundance, were delayed, but both ultimately declined. Phyto- and zooplankton biomass and community composition shifted with fertilization. The effects of fertilization were less pronounced in the paired shallow lakes, because of a natural thermokarst failure likely impacting the reference lake. In the deep lake there was (a) moderate resistance to change in ecosystem functions at all trophic levels, (b) eventual responses were often nonlinear, and (c) postfertilization recovery (return) times were most rapid at the base of the food web (2–4 yr) while higher trophic levels failed to recover after 6 yr. The timing and magnitude of responses to fertilization in these arctic lakes were similar to responses in other lakes, suggesting indirect effects of climate change that modify nutrient inputs may affect many lakes in the future.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Budy, P., Pennock, C. A., Giblin, A. E., Luecke, C., White, D. L., & Kling, G. W. Understanding the effects of climate change via disturbance on pristine arctic lakes-multitrophic level response and recovery to a 12-yr, low-level fertilization experiment. Limnology and Oceanography. (2021), https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.11893.
Emerging wetlands from river diversions can sustain high denitrification rates in a Coastal Delta
Upreti, Kiran; Rivera-Monroy, Victor H.; Maiti, Kanchan; Giblin, Anne E.; Geaghan, James P.
It is assumed that to treat excess NO3− high soil organic matter content (%OM) is required to maintain high denitrification rates in natural or restored wetlands. However, this excess also represents a risk by increasing soil decomposition rates triggering peat collapse and wetland fragmentation. Here, we evaluated the role of %OM and temperature interactions controlling denitrification rates in eroding (Barataria Bay-BLC) and emerging (Wax Lake Delta-WLD) deltaic regions in coastal Louisiana using the isotope pairing (IPT) and N2:Ar techniques. We also assessed differences between total (direct denitrification + coupled nitrification-denitrification) and net (total denitrification minus nitrogen fixation) denitrification rates in benthic and wetland habitats with contrasting %OM and bulk density (BD). Sediment (benthic) and soil (wetland) cores were collected during summer, spring, and winter (2015–2016) and incubated at close to in-situ temperatures (30°C, 20°C, and 10°C, respectively). Denitrification rates were linearly correlated with temperature; maximum mean rates ranged from 40.1–124.1 μmol m−2 h−1 in the summer with lower rates (<26.2 ± 5.3 μmol m−2 h−1) in the winter seasons. Direct denitrification was higher than coupled denitrification in all seasons. Denitrification rates were higher in WLD despite lower %OM, lower total N concentration, and higher BD in wetland soils. Therefore, in environments with low carbon availability, high denitrification rates can be sustained as long as NO3− concentrations are high (>30 μM) and water temperature is >10°C. In coastal Louisiana, substrates under these regimes are represented by emergent supra-tidal flats or land created by sediment diversions under oligohaline conditions (<1 ppt).
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2021. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126(5), (2021): e2020JG006217, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JG006217.
Biogeography of ammonia oxidizers in New England and Gulf of Mexico salt marshes and the potential importance of comammox
Bernhard, Anne E.; Beltz, Jack; Giblin, Anne E.; Roberts, Brian J.
Few studies have focused on broad scale biogeographic patterns of ammonia oxidizers in coastal systems, yet understanding the processes that govern them is paramount to understanding the mechanisms that drive biodiversity, and ultimately impact ecosystem processes. Here we present a meta-analysis of 16 years of data of ammonia oxidizer abundance, diversity, and activity in New England (NE) salt marshes and 5 years of data from marshes in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). Potential nitrification rates were more than 80x higher in GoM compared to NE marshes. However, nitrifier abundances varied between regions, with ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and comammox bacteria significantly greater in GoM, while ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) were more than 20x higher in NE than GoM. Total bacterial 16S rRNA genes were also significantly greater in GoM marshes. Correlation analyses of rates and abundance suggest that AOA and comammox are more important in GoM marshes, whereas AOB are more important in NE marshes. Furthermore, ratios of nitrifiers to total bacteria in NE were as much as 80x higher than in the GoM, suggesting differences in the relative importance of nitrifiers between these systems. Communities of AOA and AOB were also significantly different between the two regions, based on amoA sequences and DNA fingerprints (terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism). Differences in rates and abundances may be due to differences in salinity, temperature, and N loading between the regions, and suggest significantly different N cycling dynamics in GoM and NE marshes that are likely driven by strong environmental differences between the regions.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Bernhard, A. E., Beltz, J., Giblin, A. E., & Roberts, B. J. Biogeography of ammonia oxidizers in New England and Gulf of Mexico salt marshes and the potential importance of comammox. ISME Communications, 1, (2021): 9, https://doi.org/10.1038./s43705-021-00008-0
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