Metabolically active, non-nitrogen fixing,Trichodesmiumin UK coastal waters during winter

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Trichodesmium, a colonial cyanobacterium typically associated with tropical waters, was observed between January and April 2014 in the western English Channel. Sequencing of the heterocyst differentiation (hetR) and 16S rRNA genes placed this community within the Clade IV Trichodesmium, an understudied clade previously found only in low numbers in warmer waters. Nitrogen fixation was not detected although measurable rates of nitrate uptake and carbon fixation were observed. Trichodesmium RuBisCO transcript abundance relative to gene abundance suggests the potential for viable and potentially active Trichodesmium carbon fixation. Observations of Trichodesmium when coupled with a numerical advection model indicate that Trichodesmium communities can remain viable for >3.5 months at temperatures lower than previously expected. The results suggest that Clade IV Trichodesmium occupies a different niche to other Trichodesmium species, and is a cold- or low-light-adapted variant.

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