skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Testing the light:nutrient hypothesis: Insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics

Abstract

Aquatic biofilms are hotspots of biogeochemical activity due to concentrated microbial biomass (Battin, Kaplan, Newbold, & Hansen, 2003). However, biofilms are often considered a single entity when their role in biogeochemical transformations is assessed, even though these biofilms harbour functionally diverse microbial communities (Battin, Besemer, Bengtsson, Romani, & Packmann, 2016; Veach, Stegen, Brown, Dodds, & Jumpponen, 2016). Often overlooked are the biotic interactions among biofilm components that can affect ecosystem-scale processes such as primary production and nutrient cycling. These interactions are likely to be especially important under resource limitation. Light is a primary resource mediating algal photosynthesis and both phototrophic and heterotrophic production due to bacterial reliance on C-rich algal exudates (Cole, 1982). However, current understanding of function–structure linkages in streams has yet to unravel the relative degree of these microbial feedbacks under resource availability gradients. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Bengtsson, Wagner, Schwab, Urich, and Battin (2018) studied stream biofilm responses to light availability to understand its impact across three domains of life. By integrating biogeochemical rate estimation and metatranscriptomics within a microcosm experiment, they were able to link primary production and nutrient uptake rates to algal and bacterial metabolic processes and specify what taxa contributed to genemore » expression. Under low light, diatoms and cyanobacteria upregulated photosynthetic machinery and diatom-specific chloroplast rRNA suggesting heightened transcriptional activity under light limitation to maintain phototrophic energy demands. Under high light, heterotrophic bacteria upregulated mRNAs related to phosphorous (P) metabolism while biofilm P uptake increased indicating high bacterial-specific P demand when algal biomass was high. Together, these results indicate that biogeochemical function is mediated by complex microbial interactions across trophic levels.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Climate Change Science Inst. and Environmental Sciences Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1460202
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1464552
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 27; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0962-1083
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Veach, Allison M., and Griffiths, Natalie A. Testing the light:nutrient hypothesis: Insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1111/mec.14733.
Veach, Allison M., & Griffiths, Natalie A. Testing the light:nutrient hypothesis: Insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics. United States. doi:10.1111/mec.14733.
Veach, Allison M., and Griffiths, Natalie A. Thu . "Testing the light:nutrient hypothesis: Insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics". United States. doi:10.1111/mec.14733. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1460202.
@article{osti_1460202,
title = {Testing the light:nutrient hypothesis: Insights into biofilm structure and function using metatranscriptomics},
author = {Veach, Allison M. and Griffiths, Natalie A.},
abstractNote = {Aquatic biofilms are hotspots of biogeochemical activity due to concentrated microbial biomass (Battin, Kaplan, Newbold, & Hansen, 2003). However, biofilms are often considered a single entity when their role in biogeochemical transformations is assessed, even though these biofilms harbour functionally diverse microbial communities (Battin, Besemer, Bengtsson, Romani, & Packmann, 2016; Veach, Stegen, Brown, Dodds, & Jumpponen, 2016). Often overlooked are the biotic interactions among biofilm components that can affect ecosystem-scale processes such as primary production and nutrient cycling. These interactions are likely to be especially important under resource limitation. Light is a primary resource mediating algal photosynthesis and both phototrophic and heterotrophic production due to bacterial reliance on C-rich algal exudates (Cole, 1982). However, current understanding of function–structure linkages in streams has yet to unravel the relative degree of these microbial feedbacks under resource availability gradients. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Bengtsson, Wagner, Schwab, Urich, and Battin (2018) studied stream biofilm responses to light availability to understand its impact across three domains of life. By integrating biogeochemical rate estimation and metatranscriptomics within a microcosm experiment, they were able to link primary production and nutrient uptake rates to algal and bacterial metabolic processes and specify what taxa contributed to gene expression. Under low light, diatoms and cyanobacteria upregulated photosynthetic machinery and diatom-specific chloroplast rRNA suggesting heightened transcriptional activity under light limitation to maintain phototrophic energy demands. Under high light, heterotrophic bacteria upregulated mRNAs related to phosphorous (P) metabolism while biofilm P uptake increased indicating high bacterial-specific P demand when algal biomass was high. Together, these results indicate that biogeochemical function is mediated by complex microbial interactions across trophic levels.},
doi = {10.1111/mec.14733},
journal = {Molecular Ecology},
number = 14,
volume = 27,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Experimental set-up of the Bengtsson et al. (2018) study including plexiglass microcosm chambers equipped with shading foil (A); stream biofilms grown in diverted flumes on glass tiles within microcosms (B); conceptual depiction of three light conditions manipulated above the diverse biofilms: 11.1, 32.9, and 125.4 micromole photons m-2more » s-2 with light transmission of 7%, 51%, and 92%, respectively (C). Image credits to Mia Bengtsson.« less

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Quantifying phosphorus and light effects in stream algae
journal, January 2009

  • Hill, Walter R.; Fanta, Shari E.; Roberts, Brian J.
  • Limnology and Oceanography, Vol. 54, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.1.0368

The Light: Nutrient Ratio in Lakes: The Balance of Energy and Materials Affects Ecosystem Structure and Process
journal, December 1997

  • Sterner, Robert W.; Elser, James J.; Fee, Everett J.
  • The American Naturalist, Vol. 150, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1086/286088

The ecology and biogeochemistry of stream biofilms
journal, March 2016

  • Battin, Tom J.; Besemer, Katharina; Bengtsson, Mia M.
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology, Vol. 14, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro.2016.15

Applying the light : nutrient hypothesis to stream periphyton
journal, May 2010


Interactions Between Bacteria and Algae in Aquatic Ecosystems
journal, November 1982


Contributions of microbial biofilms to ecosystem processes in stream mesocosms
journal, November 2003

  • Battin, Tom J.; Kaplan, Louis A.; Denis Newbold, J.
  • Nature, Vol. 426, Issue 6965
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature02152

Spatial and successional dynamics of microbial biofilm communities in a grassland stream ecosystem
journal, September 2016

  • Veach, Allison M.; Stegen, James C.; Brown, Shawn P.
  • Molecular Ecology, Vol. 25, Issue 18
  • DOI: 10.1111/mec.13784

Light availability impacts structure and function of phototrophic stream biofilms across domains and trophic levels
journal, June 2018

  • Bengtsson, Mia M.; Wagner, Karoline; Schwab, Clarissa
  • Molecular Ecology, Vol. 27, Issue 14
  • DOI: 10.1111/mec.14696

    Figures / Tables found in this record:

      Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.