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https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-615
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-615
26 Mar 2024
 | 26 Mar 2024

Correlations among carbohydrate inventories, enzyme activities, and microbial communities in the western North Atlantic Ocean

C. Chad Lloyd, Sarah Brown, Greta Giljan, Sherif Ghobrial, Silvia Vidal-Melgosa, Nicola Steinke, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Rudolf Amann, and Carol Arnosti

Abstract. Heterotrophic bacteria process nearly half of the organic matter produced by phytoplankton in the surface ocean. Much of this organic matter consists of high molecular weight (HMW) biopolymers such as polysaccharides and proteins, which must initially be hydrolyzed to smaller sizes by structurally specific extracellular enzymes. To assess the relationships between substrate structure and microbial community composition and function, we concurrently determined carbohydrate abundance and structural complexity, bacterial community composition, and peptidase and polysaccharide hydrolase activities throughout the water column at four distinct stations in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Although the monosaccharide constituents of particulate organic matter (POM) were similar among stations, the structural complexity of POM-derived polysaccharides varied by depth and station, as demonstrated by polysaccharide-specific antibody probing. Bacterial community composition and polysaccharide hydrolase activities also varied by depth and station, suggesting that the structure and function of bacterial communities—and the structural complexity of their target substrates—are interlinked. Thus, the extent to which bacteria can transform organic matter in the ocean is dependent on both the structural complexity of the organic matter and their enzymatic capabilities in different depths and regions of the ocean.

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C. Chad Lloyd, Sarah Brown, Greta Giljan, Sherif Ghobrial, Silvia Vidal-Melgosa, Nicola Steinke, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Rudolf Amann, and Carol Arnosti

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Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-615', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-615', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Apr 2024
C. Chad Lloyd, Sarah Brown, Greta Giljan, Sherif Ghobrial, Silvia Vidal-Melgosa, Nicola Steinke, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Rudolf Amann, and Carol Arnosti
C. Chad Lloyd, Sarah Brown, Greta Giljan, Sherif Ghobrial, Silvia Vidal-Melgosa, Nicola Steinke, Jan-Hendrik Hehemann, Rudolf Amann, and Carol Arnosti

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Short summary
The cycling of carbon throughout the ocean is dependent on the balance between phytoplankton productivity and heterotrophic decomposition. Bacteria must produce structurally specific enzymes to degrade specific chemical structures found in organic matter. We found distinct correlations between the organic matter composition, bacterial community structure, and potential enzymatic activities with depth, and found that the structural complexity of organic matter varies with location in the ocean.