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Selected recent publicaitons

Active microbial communities facilitate carbon turnover in brine pools found in the deep Southeastern Mediterranean Sea

We analyzed the microbiome in deep-sea gas-rich brine pools (SE Mediterranean Sea), showing that dense and productive microbial communities occupy brine chemocline.  Campylobacterota, especially a single Sulfurimonas genotype, were the key producers, ​Both aerobic and anaerobic microbes likely degrade macromolecules in brines. ​Low-abundance organisms support autotrophs, providing energy-rich H2 and vital organics.

Tar patties are hotspots of hydrocarbon turnover and nitrogen fixation during a nearshore pollution event in the oligotrophic southeastern Mediterranean Sea

We used metagenomics and more to describe life and interactions on nearshore tar pollution. Lots of diazotrophs enhanced N2 fixation. And we found tardigrades :) Can they help degrade tar?

Taxonomic distribution of metabolic functions in bacteria associated with Trichodesmium consortia

Coco Koedooder describes how bacteria cooperate in Trichodesmium colonies, exchanging nutrients, vitamins, siderophores, and more! Nice collaboration with Yeala Shaked and great colleagues.  

Metabolic handoffs between multiple symbionts may benefit the deep-sea bathymodioline mussels

In her second PhD paper, Tal Zvi-Kedem describes symbionts that allow chemosynthetic deep-sea mussels to use macromolecules from wood falls, etc. Could this association help Idas to colonize the deep sea? Many thanks to Manuel Kleiner and Simina Vintila from NCSU for the great collaboration!

Anthropogenic and natural disturbances along a river and its estuary alter the diversity of pathogens and antibiotic resistance mechanisms

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human health. We collaborated with Peleg Astrahan from the Kinneret Lake Laboratory (KLL) and the director of the Infectious Diseases department at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center  Dr. Regev Cohen, uncovering AMRs along a polluted Alexander River , using metagenomics and  bioinformatics.

Discovery and chemical composition of the eastmost deep-sea anoxic brine pools in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

We discovered the eastmost brine pools in the Mediterranean Sea, 60 km offshore Israel at 1150 m water depth. These Palmahim brine pools are located directly above Messinian evaporites, which were up thrust to ~350 m below the seafloor. We found a bunch of small, anoxic, methanic and warm (21.6°C) brine pools, with salinity 1.5 times the ambient. This paper discusses their chemical properties and compares them with other deep saline basins.

Metagenomes of Red Sea subpopulations challenge the use of marker genes and morphology to assess Trichodesmium diversity

Trichodesmium is a globally-important, nitrogen-fixing, bloom-forming cyanobacterium. Coco Koedooder investigated the genotypes of the Red Sea Trichodesmium that form distinct colony morphotypes - two types of spherical "puffs" and raft-like "tufts". Puffs were shaped by Trichodesmium thiebautii and tufts by Trichodesmium erythraeum. Coco also identified genotypes of Trichodesmium that do not fix nitrogen. Previous attempts to look at the Red Sea Trichodesmium population structure using the hetR marker gene revealed a higher diversity. They found other species such as Trichodesmium aureum. Still, this metagenomics study suggests that the presence of hetR gene paralogs in Trichodesmium thiebautii genomes may account for the inflation in diversity. Great collaboration with Yeala Shaked's laboratory!

Cold seeps alter the near-bottom biogeochemistry in the ultraoligotrophic Southeastern Mediterranean Sea

Gas seeps at Palmahim Disturbance offshore Israel potentially affect the functionality of the deep oligotrophic Southeastern Mediterranean Sea. This study is truly a multidisciplinary effort, combining chemists (including the leading author Dr. Guy Sisma-Ventura), physical oceanographers, geologists and biologists. We show that gas seepage may lower the pH of water as low as 6.8 tens of meters above the seep site, and alter the N to P ratio to 30:1–53:1. Bioturbated sediments near the Palmahim Disturbance seeps catalyze rapid nutrient cycling. We show high microbial activity and changes in microbial communities near the seabed, even in seeps with low activity. 

These sites export C and N into the water column, changing the deep hydrosphere.

Diversity, activity and abundance of benthic microbes in the Southeastern Mediterranean Sea

Microbes are great for biomonitoring! We sampled marine sediments from various depths (6-2000 m), offshore the Levant basin, within the framework of the National Monitoring Program of the Israeli Mediterranean Waters, in years 2018-2020. We show how the bacteria, archaea and fungi are distributed offshore, over coastal, shelf, slope and bathyal stations. One of the main findings indicates that microbial indices are affected by the downslope transport of organic matter. 

The worm affair: fidelity and environmental adaptation in symbiont species that co-occur in vestimentiferan tubeworms

This paper is led by Tal Zvi Kedem. We investigate the fascinating symbiosis between deep-sea tubeworms and chemosynthetic bacteria.  Two closely-related symbiont species often co-occur in one tubeworm host. We used this natural experimental system to ask how the fidelity of these associations is maintained.

We collaborated with the laboratory of Prof. Orit Sivan, using metagenomics to look for microbes that mediate iron cycling and methane oxidation in anoxic lake sediments.

We used mesocosm experiments to investigate the response of microbial communities to crude oil pollution in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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