Special Issue "Distribution and Metabolic Activities of Marine Microbes in Response to Natural and Anthropogenic Stressors"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gabriella Caruso
Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Polar Sciences (ISP), National Research Council, Spianata S. Raineri, 98122 Messina, Italy
Interests: marine microbiology; microbial ecology; environmental quality; marine monitoring; biogeochemical cycles; microbial enzymes; microbial viability; substrate colonization; plastisphere; bacterial pathogens; rapid detection methods; fish microflora and physiology; temperate and polar ecosystems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Kai Ziervogel
Website
Guest Editor
University of New Hampshire Durham, Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory, Durham, United States
Interests: marine microbial biogeochemistry; microbial oceanography; marine snow; marine oil snow; biological carbon pump; benthic–pelagic coupling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marine ecosystems experience constant anthropogenic stress through eutrophication, acidification, warming, and pollution (e.g., plastics, oil spills). Microbial communities act as sentinels for environmental changes. However, microbial responses to environmental changes often remain unpredictable as microbes operate on the microscale, which complicates extrapolation of microbial structure and function to larger scale processes. For instance, millimeter-sized organic aggregates known as marine snow harbor distinct microbial communities compared to ambient waters, making them hotspots for microbially mediated elemental cycling. New observations and experiments, together with analytical advances, may allow us to gain detailed insights into how microorganisms (free-living or particle-attached) respond to stressors, thus contributing to predictions of future scenarios and guiding decision makers. We welcome submissions of laboratory and field studies on microbial responses to natural and anthropogenic changes, and on spatial scales ranging from ocean basins to microenvironments such as marine snow.


Dr. Gabriella Caruso
Dr. Kai Ziervogel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Microbial communities
  • Microbial metabolic activities
  • Marine snow
  • Climate change
  • Anthropogenic stressors
  • Oil spills
  • Plastic pollution
  • Temperate areas
  • Tropical and polar regions

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessCommunication
Starvation-Dependent Inhibition of the Hydrocarbon Degrader Marinobacter sp. TT1 by a Chemical Dispersant
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(11), 925; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8110925 - 16 Nov 2020
Abstract
During marine oil spills, chemical dispersants are used routinely to disperse surface slicks, transferring the hydrocarbon constituents of oil into the aqueous phase. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding of how dispersants affect natural populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, particularly under environmentally relevant conditions, is lacking. [...] Read more.
During marine oil spills, chemical dispersants are used routinely to disperse surface slicks, transferring the hydrocarbon constituents of oil into the aqueous phase. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding of how dispersants affect natural populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria, particularly under environmentally relevant conditions, is lacking. We investigated the impacts of the dispersant Corexit EC9500A on the marine hydrocarbon degrader Marinobacter sp. TT1 when pre-adapted to either low n-hexadecane concentrations (starved culture) or high n-hexadecane concentrations (well-fed culture). The growth of previously starved cells was inhibited when exposed to the dispersant, as evidenced by 55% lower cell numbers and 30% lower n-hexadecane biodegradation efficiency compared to cells grown on n-hexadecane alone. Cultures that were well-fed did not exhibit dispersant-induced inhibition of growth or n-hexadecane degradation. In addition, fluorescence microscopy revealed amorphous cell aggregate structures when the starved culture was exposed to dispersants, suggesting that Corexit affected the biofilm formation behavior of starved cells. Our findings indicate that (previous) substrate limitation, resembling oligotrophic open ocean conditions, can impact the response and hydrocarbon-degrading activities of oil-degrading organisms when exposed to Corexit, and highlight the need for further work to better understand the implications of environmental stressors on oil biodegradation and microbial community dynamics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microbial Abundance and Enzyme Activity Patterns: Response to Changing Environmental Characteristics along a Transect in Kongsfjorden (Svalbard Islands)
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(10), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8100824 - 21 Oct 2020
Abstract
Svalbard archipelago is experiencing the effects of climate changes (i.e., glaciers’ thickness reduction and glacier front retreat), but how ice melting affects water biogeochemistry is still unknown. Microbial communities often act as environmental sentinels, modulating their distribution and activity in response to environmental [...] Read more.
Svalbard archipelago is experiencing the effects of climate changes (i.e., glaciers’ thickness reduction and glacier front retreat), but how ice melting affects water biogeochemistry is still unknown. Microbial communities often act as environmental sentinels, modulating their distribution and activity in response to environmental variability. To assess microbial response to climate warming, within the ARctic: present Climatic change and pAst extreme events (ARCA) project, a survey was carried out along a transect in Konsfjorden from off-shore stations towards the Kronebreen glacier. Total bacterial abundance and the fraction of actively respiring cells (labelled by cyanotetrazolium chloride, CTC), cultivable heterotrophic bacterial abundance, and extracellular enzymatic activities (leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), beta-glucosidase (GLU), and alkaline phosphatase (AP)) were measured. In addition, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, total suspended matter (TSM), particulate and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), chlorophyll-a (Chl-a), and inorganic compounds were determined, in order to evaluate whether variations in microbial abundance and metabolism were related with changes in environmental variables. Colder waters at surface (3.5–5 m) depths and increased turbidity, TSM, and inorganic compounds found at some hydrological stations close to the glacier were signals of ice melting. CDOM absorption slope values (275–295 nm) varied from 0.0077 to 0.0109 nm−1, and total bacterial cell count and cultivable heterotrophic bacterial abundance were in the order of 106 cells/mL and 103 colony forming units/mL, respectively. Enzymatic rates <1.78, 1.25, and 0.25 nmol/L/h were recorded for AP, LAP, and GLU, respectively. Inorganic compounds, TSM, and turbidity correlated inversely with temperature; AP was significantly related with CDOM absorption spectra and heterotrophic bacteria (r = 0.59, 0.71, p < 0.05); and LAP with Chl-a, Particulate Organic Carbon (POC) and Particulate Organic Nitrogen (PON) (0.97, 0.780, 0.734, p < 0.01), suggesting that fresh material from ice melting stimulated the metabolism of the cultivable fraction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Coupling between Benthic Nutrient Cycling and Pelagic Phytoplankton Community in Taiwan Strait in Spring 2018
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(10), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8100807 - 18 Oct 2020
Abstract
Although the nutrient as a driving force for the red tide was intensively studied, the spatial patterns of the phytoplankton community and its response to benthic nutrient cycling remain unclear. We determined the pelagic phytoplankton community and its extracellular alkaline phosphatase qualitatively using [...] Read more.
Although the nutrient as a driving force for the red tide was intensively studied, the spatial patterns of the phytoplankton community and its response to benthic nutrient cycling remain unclear. We determined the pelagic phytoplankton community and its extracellular alkaline phosphatase qualitatively using enzyme-labeled fluorescence (ELF) technique, concomitantly with the concentrations of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in the water and sediments in the Taiwan Strait in spring 2018. A total of 30 phytoplankton genera were identified with a higher abundance of the abundance of Prorocentrum and Trichodesmium being observed at the north coast and the center of the southern strait, respectively. Both phytoplankton abundances and Trichodesmium were negatively correlated with the ratios of dissolved inorganic N and ammonium to soluble reactive P (DIN/SRP, NH4+/SRP) in the bottom. Furthermore, the ELF-labeling percentage in Trichodesmium was negatively correlated with total P and SRP but positively correlated with TN/TP, DIN/SRP, and NH4+/SRP in the bottom. In contrast to high DIN/SRP of the surface, lower DIN/SRP in the bottom was owing to a high P release potential and weak sequestration of P as evidenced by the distribution of P solubilizing bacteria and P content. Our findings indicated that the benthic nutrient regime might shape the structure of the pelagic phytoplankton community. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Chromophoric Dissolved Organic Matter as a Tracer of Fecal Contamination for Bathing Water Quality Monitoring in the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Latium, Italy)
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2020, 8(6), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse8060430 - 12 Jun 2020
Abstract
Dissolved organic matter present in natural aquatic environments is a heterogeneous mixture of allochthonous and autochthonous materials. In coastal areas vulnerable to sewage waste, its biologically active component, the chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), is expected to change its composition and distribution in [...] Read more.
Dissolved organic matter present in natural aquatic environments is a heterogeneous mixture of allochthonous and autochthonous materials. In coastal areas vulnerable to sewage waste, its biologically active component, the chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM), is expected to change its composition and distribution in relation to anthropogenic activities, suggesting the possible use of CDOM as a proxy of fecal contamination. This study aimed at testing such hypothesis by investigating and relating the optical properties of CDOM with Escherichia coli abundance, physiological state, and enzymatic activities in a bathing area of the Northern Tyrrhenian Sea (Latium, Italy) affected by urban wastewaters. The parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) applied to the excitation–emission matrices (EEMs) of CDOM allowed us to distinguish three main components: C1 (λExEm = 342 nm/435 nm), C2 (λExEm = 281–373 nm/460 nm), and C3 (λExEm = 286 nm/360 nm). C1 and C2 corresponded to humic acids of terrestrial origin, while C3 to tryptophan, whose fluorescence peak was detected close to sewage sites, strongly related to active E. coli cells. The comparison between spectral and microbiological methods is suggested as a suitable approach to monitor bathing water quality for the implementation of coastal observing system capability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Phytoplankton Growth Phase on Settling Properties of Marine Aggregates
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2019, 7(8), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7080265 - 10 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Marine snow aggregates often dominate carbon export from the surface layer to the deep ocean. Therefore, understanding the formation and properties of aggregates is essential to the study of the biological pump. Previous studies have observed a relationship between phytoplankton growth phase and [...] Read more.
Marine snow aggregates often dominate carbon export from the surface layer to the deep ocean. Therefore, understanding the formation and properties of aggregates is essential to the study of the biological pump. Previous studies have observed a relationship between phytoplankton growth phase and the production of transparent exopolymer particles (TEP), the sticky particles secreted by phytoplankton that act as the glue during aggregate formation. In this experimental study, we aim to determine the effect of phytoplankton growth phase on properties related to aggregate settling. Cultures of the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii were grown to four different growth phases and incubated in rotating cylindrical tanks to form aggregates. Aggregate excess density and delayed settling time through a sharp density gradient were quantified for the aggregates that were formed, and relative TEP concentration was measured for cultures before aggregate formation. Compared to the first growth phase, later phytoplankton growth phases were found to have higher relative TEP concentration and aggregates with lower excess densities and longer delayed settling times. These findings may suggest that, although particle concentrations are higher at later stages of phytoplankton blooms, aggregates may be less dense and sink slower, thus affecting carbon export. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Ni and black carbon influence bacterial production, respiration and community composition on organic aggregates in the barrier reef Lagoon of Noumea (New Caledonia): an experimental study

Markus G. Weinbauer, et al.

 

2. Lipase activity as indicator for microbial degradation of spilled oil in the ocean

Kai Ziervogel, et al.

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