Assessing the contribution of diazotrophs to microbial Fe uptake using a group specific approach in the Western Tropical South Pacific Ocean

Type Article
Date 2022-12
Language English
Author(s) Lory C.ORCID1, Van Wambeke F.1, Fourquez M.1, Barani A.1, Guieu C.2, Tilliette C.2, Marie D.3, Nunige S.1, Berman-Frank I.4, Bonnet Sophie1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Aix Marseille Université, Université de Toulon, CNRS, IRD, MIO, Marseille, France
2 : Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Laboratoire d’Océanographie de Villefranche, LOV, F-06230, Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
3 : Sorbonne Université, CNRS, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Roscoff, France
4 : Department of Marine Biology, The Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Source ISME Communications (2730-6151) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2022-12 , Vol. 2 , N. 1 , P. 41 (11p.)
DOI 10.1038/s43705-022-00122-7

Diazotrophs are often limited by iron (Fe) availability in the oligotrophic ocean. The Western Tropical South Pacific (WTSP) ocean has been suggested as an intense N2 fixation area due to Fe fertilizations through shallow hydrothermal activity. Yet, the Fe demand of diazotrophs in their natural habitat, where they cohabit with other microbial organisms also requiring Fe, remains unknown. Here we develop and apply a method consisting of coupling 55Fe uptake experiments with cell-sorting by flow cytometry, and provide group-specific rates of in situ Fe uptake by the microbial community in the WTSP, in addition to bulk and size fractionation rates. We reveal that the diazotrophs Crocosphaera watsonii and Trichodesmium contribute substantially to the bulk in situ Fe uptake (~33% on average over the studied area), despite being numerically less abundant compared to the rest of the planktonic community. Trichodesmium had the highest cell-specific Fe uptake rates, followed by C. watsonii, picoeukaryotes, Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus and finally heterotrophic bacteria. Calculated Fe:C quotas were higher (by 2 to 52-fold) for both studied diazotrophs compared to those of the non-diazotrophic plankton, reflecting their high intrinsic Fe demand. This translates into a diazotroph biogeographical distribution that appears to be influenced by ambient dissolved Fe concentrations in the WTSP. Despite having low cell-specific uptake rates, Prochlorococcus and heterotrophic bacteria were largely the main contributors to the bulk Fe uptake (~23% and ~12%, respectively). Overall, this group-specific approach increases our ability to examine the ecophysiological role of functional groups, including those of less abundant and/or less active microbes.

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Lory C., Van Wambeke F., Fourquez M., Barani A., Guieu C., Tilliette C., Marie D., Nunige S., Berman-Frank I., Bonnet Sophie (2022). Assessing the contribution of diazotrophs to microbial Fe uptake using a group specific approach in the Western Tropical South Pacific Ocean. ISME Communications, 2(1), 41 (11p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :