Matching Items (25)

132148-Thumbnail Image.png

Assessing Light Use Efficiencies (LUEs) Of Benthic Reef Communities For Spectral Modeling Applications

Description

Coral reefs are diverse marine ecosystems, where reef building corals provide both the structure of the habitat as well as the primary production through their symbiotic algae, and alongside algae

Coral reefs are diverse marine ecosystems, where reef building corals provide both the structure of the habitat as well as the primary production through their symbiotic algae, and alongside algae living on the reef itself, are the basis of the food web of the reef. In this way, coral reefs are the ocean's "forests" and are estimated to support 25% of all marine species. However, due to the large size of a coral reef, the relative inaccessibility and the reliance on in situ surveying methods, our current understanding of reefs is spatially limited. Understanding coral reefs from a more spatially complete perspective will offer insight into the ecological factors that contribute to coral reef vitality. This has become a priority in recent years due to the rapid decline of coral reefs caused by mass bleaching. Despite this urgency, being able to assess the entirety of a coral reef is physically difficult and this obstacle has not yet been overcome. However, similar difficulties have been addressed in terrestrial ecosystems by using remote sensing methods, which apply hyperspectral imaging to assess large areas of primary producers at high spatial resolutions. Adapting this method of remote spectral sensing to assess coral reefs has been suggested, but in order to quantify primary production via hyper spectral imaging, light-use efficiencies (LUEs) of coral reef communities need to be known. LUEs are estimations of the rate of carbon fixation compared to incident absorbed light. Here, I experimentally determine LUEs and report on several parameters related to LUE, namely net productivity, respiration, and light absorbance for the main primary producers in coral reefs surrounding Bermuda, which consist of algae and coral communities. The derived LUE values fall within typical ranges for LUEs of terrestrial ecosystems, with LUE values for coral averaging 0.022 ± 0.002 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a water flow rate of 17.5 ± 2 cm s^(-1) and 0.049 ± 0.011 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a flow rate of 32 ± 4 cm s^(-1) LUE values for algae averaged 0.0335 ± 0.0048 mol O2 mol photons-1 day-1 at a flow rate of 17.5 ± 2 cm s^(-1). These values allow insight into coral reef productivity and opens the door for future remote sensing applications.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

131458-Thumbnail Image.png

Marine Aggregation interactions of Prochlorococcus and Marinobacter adhaerens

Description

The changes in marine ecological conditions brought on by warming and stratification of the oceans have radically shifted many marine environments around the globe. This project aimed to better characterize

The changes in marine ecological conditions brought on by warming and stratification of the oceans have radically shifted many marine environments around the globe. This project aimed to better characterize the aggregation behavior of the abundant picocyanobacterium Prochlorococcus marinus, which is hypothesized to dominate over other phytoplankton as the primary autotroph in increasingly warmer and nutrient poor oceans. This aggregation, believed to be mediated through the secretion of sticky Transparent Exopolymeric Substances (TEP), might be key for Prochlorococcus to sink throughout the ocean and serve as a source of carbon to other communities within its environment. Considering the relatively low concentration of TEP secreted by Prochlorococcus when on its own, this study explored the synergistic effect that heterotrophic bacteria and inorganic minerals in the surrounding seawater may have on the aggregation of P. marinus. This was done by inoculating P. marinus and the model heterotroph Marinobacter adhaerens HP15 individually and mixed in cylindrical roller tanks with the addition of ballasting clay minerals into roller tanks to simulate constant sinking for 7 days. The aggregates which formed after rolling were quantified and their sinking velocities and excess densities were measured. Our results indicate that the most numerous and densest aggregates formed when Prochlorococcus was in the presence of both M. adhaerens and kaolinite clay particles. I will discuss how methodology, particularly cell number, may play a role in the enhanced aggregation that I found when Prochlorococcus was cultured together with the Marinobacter.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05

147706-Thumbnail Image.png

Qualitative Determination of Exopolymeric Substances in Particle-Associated Bacteria from the Sargasso Sea

Description

The biological carbon pump acts as part of the global carbon cycle through the photosynthetic fixation of inorganic carbon into dissolved and particulate organic carbon by phytoplankton. Previously, the biological

The biological carbon pump acts as part of the global carbon cycle through the photosynthetic fixation of inorganic carbon into dissolved and particulate organic carbon by phytoplankton. Previously, the biological carbon pump was attributed to large aggregates and zooplankton fecal pellets since their size and density results in faster sinking rates, efficiently exporting organic carbon to deeper depths in the ocean. However, recent studies have indicated that small cells, known as picoplankton, contribute significantly to the formation of sinking particles. The presence of exopolymeric substances (EPS), among them sticky transparent exopolymeric particles (TEP) and proteinaceous coomassie stainable particles (CSP), serve as influential factors of export flux and aggregation. The presence of heterotrophic bacteria can also affect aggregation and sinking velocity, as seen in previous studies, and is likely attributed to their EPS and TEP production. The staining and visualization of TEP and CSP allow for the qualitative determination of these types of EPS from bacteria isolated from sinking particles collected with particle interceptor traps at various depths in the Sargasso Sea. I study the presence of TEP and CSP in particle-associated bacteria. Cultures of picocyanobacteria, consisting of xenic Synechococcus and axenic Prochlorococcus, were used to establish positive and negative controls for stained isolate analysis. Marinobacter adhaerens served as a tertiary control for an axenic culture that stains positive for TEP. I chose six isolates of bacteria isolated from sinking particles to be stained and visualized to test for the secretion of TEP and CSP. Four of the isolates stained positive for both TEP and CSP, including Pseudoalteromonas sp., Erythrobacter sp., and Marinobacter sp., while one isolate, Micrococcus sp., stained positive only for TEP, and the last isolate, another Marinobacter sp., stained positive for only CSP. These results are important in understanding the role of plankton organisms in the formation of sinking particles.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

137539-Thumbnail Image.png

Studying Plankton Community Dynamics in the Sargasso Sea Using Microscopy and Molecular Techniques

Description

The phytoplankton communities in the open oceans are dominated by picophytoplankton (0.7-2µm) and nanophytoplankton (3-5µm). Studying the community dynamics of these phytoplankton is important to learn about their role

The phytoplankton communities in the open oceans are dominated by picophytoplankton (0.7-2µm) and nanophytoplankton (3-5µm). Studying the community dynamics of these phytoplankton is important to learn about their role in the carbon cycle and food web of the oceans. Dilution experiments were used, along with microscopy and molecular techniques, to determine abundance, biomass and phytoplankton growth and grazing rates in the oligotrophic Sargasso Sea (western North Atlantic subtropical gyre) around the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series Station (BATS) in the summer of 2012. With low biomass and chlorophyll a, the Sargasso Sea appears to be unproductive at first glance, but I found that pico- and nanophytoplankton have high instantaneous growth rates that are balanced by the high grazing rates of microzooplankton.
Mesoscale eddies are important features in the Sargasso Sea that can increase or decrease the available nutrients in the euphotic zone. Two different mesoscale eddies were sampled: an anti-cyclonic eddy and the BATS station which was located at the edge of a cyclonic eddy. The results indicated that BATS had overall higher instantaneous growth (µ between 0.1 d-1 and 3.7 d-1) and grazing rates on pico- and nanophytoplankton, as well as diatoms, compared to the anti-cyclonic eddy (µ between 0.2 d-1 and 3 d-1). I also determined taxon-specific rates using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for the order Mamiellales, one of the smallest representatives of the abundant prasinophytes. This method yielded surprisingly high growth (9.7 d-1 ) and grazing rates (-8.2 d-1) at 80m for BATS. The euphotic zone (~100m) integrated biomass of all phytoplankton did not vary significantly between BATS (379 mg C m-2) and the anti-cyclonic eddy (408 mg C m-2) and the net growth rates at both locations were very close to zero for most of the groups. Although the biomass and net growth rates did not vary greatly between the two locations, the high instantaneous growth and grazing rates of pico- and nano-eukaryotic phytoplankton indicate an increase in the rate of the marine microbial food web, or microbial loop, compared to the anti-cyclonic eddy. This could have been due to the input of new nutrients in the edge of the cyclonic eddy at BATS. Thus, my study suggests that mesoscale variability is of considerable importance for the dynamics of the phytoplankton community and their role in the microbial loop. Much can be learned when using DNA based taxon-specific rates, especially to understand the relative importance and contribution of specific taxa.
More taxon-specific molecular studies will have to be carried out to quantify specific rates of more phytoplankton groups, which will supply a more complete knowledge of phytoplankton community dynamics in the Sargasso Sea. This will increase our understanding of the role of specific groups to the biological carbon dynamics in the euphotic zone into the deep ocean.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

The Intertidal Ecosystems of Puerto Peñasco: A Collaboration with CEDO and the Clean Beaches Committee of Puerto Peñasco to Educate Beach Visitors on Local Biodiversity

Description

The Northern Gulf of California is characterized by an extreme tidal range and temperature fluctuations between seasons, as well as a large variation in microhabitats along its shoreline. As a

The Northern Gulf of California is characterized by an extreme tidal range and temperature fluctuations between seasons, as well as a large variation in microhabitats along its shoreline. As a result, the intertidal regions exhibit a diverse and distinct collection of species that have adapted to these environmental conditions, with roughly 4.6 percent being endemic. Minimal knowledge of these ecosystems existed until the 1940’s, when the renowned author John Steinbeck accompanied marine biologist Edward Ricketts on an expedition with the purpose of documenting the biodiversity of the Sea of Cortez. Today, the majority of research in the Northern Gulf of California is directed by CEDO, the Intercultural Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans. The purpose of this project is to compile a literature review of research on the intertidal areas of the Northern Gulf and produce an illustrated brochure that educates beach visitors on local biodiversity as a collaboration with CEDO and the Clean Beaches Committee of Puerto Peñasco. This brochure aims to increase respect and appreciation for these species, as increased tourism over the past few decades has led to detrimental effects on the ecosystem. Additionally, it serves to promote the success of the Blue Flag certification of El Mirador beach in front of Manny’s Beach Club.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

136646-Thumbnail Image.png

Symbiotic state & reproduction in the giant green sea anemone Anthopleura xanthogrammica

Description

The giant green sea anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, hosts two different endosymbiotic algae. One is a unicellular chlorophyte, Elliptochloris marina; the other is Symbiodinium muscatinei, a dinoflagellate. Hosting these different symbionts

The giant green sea anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, hosts two different endosymbiotic algae. One is a unicellular chlorophyte, Elliptochloris marina; the other is Symbiodinium muscatinei, a dinoflagellate. Hosting these different symbionts influences the life history strategy of A. xanthogrammica's congener A. elegantissima, directly impacting its reproductive strategy (asexual vs. sexual). My study sought to examine whether the type and density of symbiont also affects the reproductive condition of A. xanthogrammica, which reproduces only sexually. Gonad development was measured in anemones from Slip Point, Clallam Bay, WA and Tongue Point, WA along with symbiont type and density per mg of anemone protein. The results indicate a trend towards brown anemones having more developed gonads, especially in males. This may mean that A. xanthogrammica anemones that host zooxanthellae are more reproductively fit than zoochlorellate anemones. Thus, it may be favorable for anemones to host zooxanthellae. This is especially true in summer months when the high temperatures and mid-day low tides coincide with the period of most rapid gonad development.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

137132-Thumbnail Image.png

Response of Daphnia feeding rate to food C:P ratio: a test for the ""stoichiometric knife edge"" mechanism

Description

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients

It is well known that deficiencies in key chemical elements (such as phosphorus, P) can reduce animal growth; however, recent empirical data have shown that high levels of dietary nutrients can also reduce animal growth. In ecological stoichiometry, this phenomenon is known as the "stoichiometric knife edge," but its underlying mechanisms are not well-known. Previous work has suggested that the crustacean zooplankter Daphnia reduces its feeding rates on phosphorus-rich food, causing low growth due to insufficient C (energy) intake. To test for this mechanism, feeding rates of Daphnia magna on algae (Scenedesmus acutus) differing in C:P ratio (P content) were determined. Overall, there was a significant difference among all treatments for feeding rate (p < 0.05) with generally higher feeding rates on P-rich algae. These data indicate that both high and low food C:P ratio do affect Daphnia feeding rate but are in contradiction with previous work that showed that P-rich food led to strong reductions in feeding rate. Additional experiments are needed to gain further insights.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

132389-Thumbnail Image.png

Prochlorococcus Marinus Cell Growth, Aggregate Formation and TEP Production under Nutrient Limited Conditions

Description

Prochlorococcus marinus (MED4), a genus of marine picocyanobacteria that proliferates in open oligotrophic ocean, is one of the most abundant photosynthetic microbes in the world, estimated to contribute up to

Prochlorococcus marinus (MED4), a genus of marine picocyanobacteria that proliferates in open oligotrophic ocean, is one of the most abundant photosynthetic microbes in the world, estimated to contribute up to 10% of the ocean’s primary production. The productivity of these microorganisms is controlled by macronutrient availability in the surface waters. The ratio of macronutrients in the ocean was defined, by Alfred Redfield, as an elemental ratio of 106C:16N:1P. However, the C:N:P ratio varies based on region, season, temperature and irradiance, as well as the composition of the primary producers. In oligotrophic gyres, these nutrient ratios are elevated from the Redfield stoichiometry, but whether this ratio exerts influence on the growth rate of the organism has not been investigated. Elemental stoichiometry of available nutrients can affect the aggregation of organic carbon and exportation of the particles to the ocean depths. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of nutrient limitation on aggregation and transparent exopolymeric particle (TEP) production which aids in aggregation. My findings suggested that nutrient limitation reduces TEP production and does not increase aggregate volume concentration. With continued warming, certain regions of the ocean will become more oligotrophic, which further decreases the nutrient supply available for Prochlorococcus. My research shows that this could lead to decreased exportation of organic carbon matter to the depths of the sea.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

156753-Thumbnail Image.png

Monitoring algal abundance and water quality in Arizona reservoirs through field sampling and remote sensing

Description

Safe, readily available, and reliable sources of water are an essential component of any municipality’s infrastructure. Phoenix, Arizona, a southwestern city, has among the highest per capita water use in

Safe, readily available, and reliable sources of water are an essential component of any municipality’s infrastructure. Phoenix, Arizona, a southwestern city, has among the highest per capita water use in the United States, making it essential to carefully manage its reservoirs. Generally, municipal water bodies are monitored through field sampling. However, this approach is limited spatially and temporally in addition to being costly. In this study, the application of remotely sensed reflectance data from Landsat 7’s Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) along with data generated through field-sampling is used to gain a better understanding of the seasonal development of algal communities and levels of suspended particulates in the three main terminal reservoirs supplying water to the Phoenix metro area: Bartlett Lake, Lake Pleasant, and Saguaro Lake. Algal abundances, particularly the abundance of filamentous cyanobacteria, increased with warmer temperatures in all three reservoirs and reached the highest comparative abundance in Bartlett Lake. Prymnesiophytes (the class of algae to which the toxin-producing golden algae belong) tended to peak between June and August, with one notable peak occurring in Saguaro Lake in August 2017 during which time a fish-kill was observed. In the cooler months algal abundance was comparatively lower in all three lakes, with a more even distribution of abundance across algae classes. In-situ data from March 2017 to March 2018 were compared with algal communities sampled approximately ten years ago in each reservoir to understand any possible long-term changes. The findings show that the algal communities in the reservoirs are relatively stable, particularly those of the filamentous cyanobacteria, chlorophytes, and prymnesiophytes with some notable exceptions, such as the abundance of diatoms, which increased in Bartlett Lake and Lake Pleasant. When in-situ data were compared with Landsat-derived reflectance data, two-band combinations were found to be the best-estimators of chlorophyll-a concentration (as a proxy for algal biomass) and total suspended sediment concentration. The ratio of the reflectance value of the red band and the blue band produced reasonable estimates for the in-situ parameters in Bartlett Lake. The ratio of the reflectance value of the green band and the blue band produced reasonable estimates for the in-situ parameters in Saguaro Lake. However, even the best performing two-band algorithm did not produce any significant correlation between reflectance and in-situ data in Lake Pleasant. Overall, remotely-sensed observations can significantly improve our understanding of the water quality as measured by algae abundance and particulate loading in Arizona Reservoirs, especially when applied over long timescales.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

155590-Thumbnail Image.png

A low-cost genomic sensor for ocean-observing systems and infectious disease detection

Description

Many environmental microorganisms such as marine microbes are un-culturable; hence, they should be analyzed in situ. Even though a few in situ ocean observing instruments have been available to oceanographers,

Many environmental microorganisms such as marine microbes are un-culturable; hence, they should be analyzed in situ. Even though a few in situ ocean observing instruments have been available to oceanographers, their applications are limited, because these instruments are expensive and power hungry.

In this dissertation project, an inexpensive, portable, low-energy consuming, and highly quantitative microbiological genomic sensor has been developed for in situ ocean-observing systems. A novel real-time colorimetric loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) technology has been developed for quantitative detection of microbial nucleic acids. This technology was implemented on a chip-level device with an embedded inexpensive imaging device and temperature controller to achieve quantitative detection within one hour. A bubble-free liquid handling approach was introduced to avoid bubble trapping during liquid loading, a common problem in microfluidic devices. An algorithm was developed to reject the effect of bubbles generated during the reaction process, to enable more accurate nucleic acid analysis. This genomic sensor has been validated at gene and gene expression levels using Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 genomic DNA and total RNA. Results suggest that the detection limits reached 10 copies/μL and 100 fg/μL, respectively. This approach was highly quantitative, with linear standard curves down to 103 copies/μL and 1 pg/μL, respectively. In addition to environmental microbe characterization, this genomic sensor has been employed for viral RNA quantification during an infectious disease outbreak. As the Zika fever was spreading in America, a quantitative detection of Zika virus has been performed. The results show that the genomic sensor is highly quantitative from 10 copies/μL to 105 copies/μL. This suggests that the novel nucleic acid quantification technology is sensitive, quantitative, and robust. It is a promising candidate for rapid microbe detection and quantification in routine laboratories.

In the future, this genomic sensor will be implemented in in situ platforms as a core analytical module with minor modifications, and could be easily accessible by oceanographers. Deployment of this microbial genomic sensor in the field will enable new scientific advances in oceanography and provide a possible solution for infectious disease detection.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017