Students Research Publications: An analysis of protists in Pacific oxygen deficient zones: implications for Prochlorococcus and N2-producing bacteria





Fuchsman, C.A., L. Cherubini*, M.D. Hays


Applied Microbiology International 24: 1790-1804,


Ocean oxygen deficient zones (ODZs) host 30%–50% of marine N2 production. Cyanobacteria photosynthesizing in the ODZ create a secondary chlorophyll maximum and provide organic matter to N2-producing bacteria. This chlorophyll maximum is thought to occur due to reduced grazing in anoxic waters. We first examine ODZ protists with long amplicon reads. We then use non-primer-based methods to examine the composition and relative abundance of protists in metagenomes from the Eastern Tropical North and South Pacific ODZs and compare these data to the oxic Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) in the North Pacific. We identify and quantify protists in proportion to the total microbial community. From metagenomic data, we see a large drop in abundance of fungi and protists such as choanoflagellates, radiolarians, cercozoa and ciliates in the ODZs but not in the oxic mesopelagic at HOT. Diplonemid euglenozoa were the only protists that increased in the ODZ. Dinoflagellates and foraminifera reads were also present in the ODZ though less abundant compared to oxic waters. Denitrification has been found in foraminifera but not yet in dinoflagellates. DNA techniques cannot separate dinoflagellate cells and cysts. Metagenomic analysis found taxonomic groups missed by amplicon sequencing and identified trends in abundance.


Clara Fuchsman, Ph.D.


Luca Cherubini, Loyola University Chicago
The REU students are indicated with an asterisk (*).

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