Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:00 AM
Katherine R Mackey, University of California Irvine, Earth System Science, Irvine, CA, United States, Matthew McIlvin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, Anton Post, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, United States and Mak A Saito, WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
Marine Synechococcus are some of the most diverse and ubiquitous phytoplankton in the ocean, and are major contributors to global primary productivity. Iron (Fe) is a micronutrient required for maintenance of the photosynthetic apparatus that limits productivity in many parts of the ocean. To investigate how marine Synechococcus strains adapt and acclimate to Fe availability, we compared the growth, photophysiology, and protein abundance in two Synechococcus strains over a range of Fe concentrations. Synechococcus strain WH8102, from the permanently stratified southern Sargasso Sea in a region that receives significant dust deposition, had few acclimation strategies under low Fe and showed impaired growth rates and photophysiology as Fe declined. Coastal isolate WH8020, from the dynamic, seasonally variable North Atlantic Ocean, displayed a range of acclimation responses, including changes in Fe acquisition, storage, and photosynthetic electron transport proteins, substitution of flavodoxin for ferredoxin, and modified photophysiology. Each of these acclimation responses occurred at different Fe threshold concentrations over which growth rate remained remarkably stable. This study demonstrates that genomic streamlining in waters with low nitrogen and phosphorus may favor the loss of Fe acclimation genes when the Fe supply is consistent over time, and expands the regions where Fe stress is thought to occur to most coastal environments.