Predetermined clockwork microbial worlds: Current understanding of aquatic microbial diel response from model systems to complex environments

Daichi Morimoto, Sigitas Šulčius, Kento Tominaga, Takashi Yoshida
Advances in Applied Microbiology 2020, 113: 163-191
In the photic zone of aquatic ecosystems, microorganisms with different metabolisms and their viruses form complex interactions and food webs. Within these interactions, phototrophic microorganisms such as eukaryotic microalgae and cyanobacteria interact directly with sunlight, and thereby generate circadian rhythms. Diel cycling originally generated in microbial phototrophs is directly transmitted toward heterotrophic microorganisms utilizing the photosynthetic products as they are excreted or exuded. Such diel cycling seems to be indirectly propagated toward heterotrophs as a result of complex biotic interactions. For example, cell death of phototrophic microorganisms induced by viral lysis and protistan grazing provides additional resources of dissolved organic matter to the microbial community, and so generates diel cycling in other heterotrophs with different nutrient dependencies. Likewise, differences in the diel transmitting pathway via complex interactions among heterotrophs, and between heterotrophs and their viruses, may also generate higher variation and time lag diel rhythms in different heterotrophic taxa. Thus, sunlight and photosynthesis not only contribute energy and carbon supply, but also directly or indirectly control diel cycling of the microbial community through complex interactions in the photic zone of aquatic ecosystems.

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