Pollara Scott B.

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Scott B.

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  • Article
    Characterizing the culturable surface microbiomes of diverse marine animals
    (Oxford University Press, 2021-03-03) Keller, Abigail G. ; Apprill, Amy ; Lebaron, Philippe ; Robbins, Jooke ; Romano, Tracy ; Overton, Ellysia ; Rong, Yuying ; Yuan, Ruiyi ; Pollara, Scott B. ; Whalen, Kristen E.
    Biofilm-forming bacteria have the potential to contribute to the health, physiology, behavior and ecology of the host and serve as its first line of defense against adverse conditions in the environment. While metabarcoding and metagenomic information furthers our understanding of microbiome composition, fewer studies use cultured samples to study the diverse interactions among the host and its microbiome, as cultured representatives are often lacking. This study examines the surface microbiomes cultured from three shallow-water coral species and two whale species. These unique marine animals place strong selective pressures on their microbial symbionts and contain members under similar environmental and anthropogenic stress. We developed an intense cultivation procedure, utilizing a suite of culture conditions targeting a rich assortment of biofilm-forming microorganisms. We identified 592 microbial isolates contained within 15 bacterial orders representing 50 bacterial genera, and two fungal species. Culturable bacteria from coral and whale samples paralleled taxonomic groups identified in culture-independent surveys, including 29% of all bacterial genera identified in the Megaptera novaeangliae skin microbiome through culture-independent methods. This microbial repository provides raw material and biological input for more nuanced studies which can explore how members of the microbiome both shape their micro-niche and impact host fitness.
  • Article
    Bacterial quorum-sensing signal arrests phytoplankton cell division and impacts virus-induced mortality
    (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-05-12) Pollara, Scott B. ; Becker, Jamie W. ; Nunn, Brook L. ; Boiteau, Rene M. ; Repeta, Daniel J. ; Mudge, Miranda C. ; Downing, Grayton ; Chase, Davis ; Harvey, Elizabeth L. ; Whalen, Kristen E.
    Interactions between phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria fundamentally shape marine ecosystems by controlling primary production, structuring marine food webs, mediating carbon export, and influencing global climate. Phytoplankton-bacterium interactions are facilitated by secreted compounds; however, linking these chemical signals, their mechanisms of action, and their resultant ecological consequences remains a fundamental challenge. The bacterial quorum-sensing signal 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ) induces immediate, yet reversible, cellular stasis (no cell division or mortality) in the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi; however, the mechanism responsible remains unknown. Using transcriptomic and proteomic approaches in combination with diagnostic biochemical and fluorescent cell-based assays, we show that HHQ exposure leads to prolonged S-phase arrest in phytoplankton coincident with the accumulation of DNA damage and a lack of repair despite the induction of the DNA damage response (DDR). While this effect is reversible, HHQ-exposed phytoplankton were also protected from viral mortality, ascribing a new role of quorum-sensing signals in regulating multitrophic interactions. Furthermore, our data demonstrate that in situ measurements of HHQ coincide with areas of enhanced micro- and nanoplankton biomass. Our results suggest bacterial communication signals as emerging players that may be one of the contributing factors that help structure complex microbial communities throughout the ocean.