10 Nov 2022
10 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Ecological divergence of a mesocosm in an eastern boundary upwelling system assessed with multi-marker environmental DNA metabarcoding

Markus A. Min1,2, David M. Needham1,3, Sebastian Sudek1, N. Kobun Truelove1, Kathleen J. Pitz1, Gabriela M. Chavez1,3, Camille Poirier1,3, Bente Gardeler1,3, Elisabeth von der Esch4, Andrea Ludwig3, Ulf Riebesell3, Alexandra Z. Worden1,3, and Francisco P. Chavez1 Markus A. Min et al.
  • 1Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, United States of America
  • 2University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, Seattle, United States of America
  • 3GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
  • 4Institute of Hydrochemistry, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Abstract. Eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) contribute a disproportionate fraction of the global fish catch relative to their size and are especially susceptible to global environmental change. Here we present the evolution of communities over 50 days in an in situ mesocosm 6 km offshore of Callao, Peru and in the nearby unenclosed coastal Pacific Ocean. The communities were monitored using multi-marker environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding and flow cytometry. DNA extracted from weekly water samples were subjected to amplicon sequencing for four genetic loci: 1) the V1-V2 region of the 16S rRNA gene, for photosynthetic eukaryotes (via their chloroplasts) and bacteria; 2) the V9 region of the 18S rRNA gene for exploration of eukaryotes but targeting phytoplankton; 3) cytochrome oxidase I (COI), for exploration of eukaryotic taxa but targeting invertebrates, and 4) the 12S rRNA gene, targeting vertebrates. The multi-marker approach showed a divergence of communities (from microbes to fish) between the mesocosm and the unenclosed ocean. Together with the environmental information, the genetic data furthered our mechanistic understanding of the processes that are shaping EBUS communities in a changing ocean. The unenclosed ocean experienced significant variability over the course of the 50-day experiment with temporal shifts in community composition but remained dominated by organisms that are characteristic of high nutrient, upwelling conditions (e.g. diatoms, copepods, anchovies). A large directional change was found in the mesocosm community. The mesocosm community that developed was characteristic of upwelling regions when upwelling relaxes and waters stratify (e.g. dinoflagellates, nanoflagellates). The selection of dinoflagellates under the warm (coastal El Niño) and stratified conditions in the mesocosm may be an indication of how EBUS will respond under the global environmental changes (i.e. continued global warming) forecast by the IPCC.

Markus A. Min et al.

Status: open (until 03 Jan 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Markus A. Min et al.

Data sets

KOSMOS eDNA data and analysis, Zenodo [code] Markus Min

Model code and software

KOSMOS eDNA data and analysis, Zenodo [code] Markus Min

Markus A. Min et al.


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Short summary
Emerging molecular methods provide new ways of understanding how marine communities respond to changes in ocean conditions. Here, environmental DNA was used to track the temporal evolution of biological communities in the Peruvian coastal upwelling system and in an adjacent enclosure where upwelling was simulated. We found that the two communities quickly diverged, with the open ocean being one found during upwelling and the enclosure evolving to one found under stratified conditions.