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Dissecting Bottromycin Biosynthesis Using Comparative Untargeted Metabolomics

Dissecting Bottromycin Biosynthesis Using Comparative Untargeted Metabolomics | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Bottromycin A2 is a structurally unique ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide (RiPP) that possesses potent antibacterial activity towards multidrug-resistant bacteria. The structural novelty of bottromycin stems from its unprecedented macrocyclic amidine and rare β-methylated amino acid residues. The N-terminus of a precursor peptide (BtmD) is converted into bottromycin A2 by tailoring enzymes encoded in the btm gene cluster. However, little was known about key transformations in this pathway, including the unprecedented macrocyclization. To understand the pathway in detail, an untargeted metabolomic approach that harnesses mass spectral networking was used to assess the metabolomes of a series of pathway mutants. This analysis has yielded key information on the function of a variety of previously uncharacterized biosynthetic enzymes, including a YcaO domain protein and a partner protein that together catalyze the macrocyclization.

 

William J. K. Crone, Natalia M. Vior, Javier Santos-Aberturas, Lukas G. Schmitz,
Finian J. Leeper, and Andrew W. Truman*

Angewandte Chemistry International Edition: DOI: 10.1002/anie.201604304


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Application of molecular networks for biosynthetics pathways elucidation

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Report reveals 2,034 new species of plant discovered last year

Report reveals 2,034 new species of plant discovered last year | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
The 'state of the world's plants' report by the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Kew in London reveals 2,034 new species of plant were found in 2015. The sundew found via Facebook is shown.
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Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea

Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

A mass spectrometry (MS)-guided isolation has led to the purification of a new cyanobactin, wewakazole B (1), along with the known compound curacin D from a Red Sea Moorea producens. The planar structure of 1 was elucidated using a combination of NMR and MS techniques. After ozonolysis and acid hydrolysis, the absolute configurations of the amino acid components of 1 were determined by chiral-phase LC-MS and HPLC analyses. Notably, compound 1 exhibited cytotoxic activity toward human MCF7 breast cancer cells (IC50 = 0.58 μM) and human H460 lung cancer cells (IC50 = 1.0 μM) and was also found to be inactive in a siderophore assay.

 

Julius Adam V. Lopez†, Sultan S. Al-Lihaibi‡, Walied M. Alarif‡, Ahmed Abdel-Lateff§⊥, Yasuyuki Nogata∥, Kenji Washio†#, Masaaki Morikawa†#, and Tatsufumi Okino*†#
J. Nat. Prod., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b00051

 


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Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea

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Joseval Estigaribia's curator insight, March 18, 8:42 AM

Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea

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Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea

Balakumaran Chandrasekar's curator insight, March 18, 10:25 AM

Wewakazole B, a Cytotoxic Cyanobactin from the Cyanobacterium Moorea producens Collected in the Red Sea

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Genome sequencing shows that myxozoan parasite is actually a 'micro' jellyfish

Genome sequencing shows that myxozoan parasite is actually a 'micro' jellyfish | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
It's a shocking discovery that may redefine how scientists interpret what it means to be an animal.

 

This week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the University of Kansas reveal how a jellyfish—those commonplace sea pests with stinging tentacles—has evolved over time into a "really weird" microscopic organism, made of only a few cells, that lives inside other animals.


Genome sequencing confirms that myxozoans, a diverse group of microscopic parasites that infect invertebrate and vertebrate hosts, are actually are "highly reduced" cnidarians—the phylum that includes jellyfish, corals and sea anemones.


"This is a remarkable case of extreme degeneration of an animal body plan," said Paulyn Cartwright, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU and principal investigator on the research project. "First, we confirmed they're cnidarians. Now we need to investigate how they got to be that way."


Not only has the parasitic micro jellyfish evolved a stripped-down body plan of just a few cells, but via data generated at the KU Medical Center's Genome Sequencing Facility researchers also found the myxozoan genome was drastically simplified.


"These were 20 to 40 times smaller than average jellyfish genomes," Cartwright said. "It's one of the smallest animal genomes ever reported. It only has about 20 million base pairs, whereas the average Cnidarian has over 300 million. These are tiny little genomes by comparison."


Despite its radical reduction of the modern jellyfish's body structure and genome over millions of years, Myxozoa has retained the essential characteristic of the jellyfish—its stinger, or "nematocyst"—along with the genes needed to make it. "Because they're so weird, it's difficult to imagine they were jellyfish," she said. "They don't have a mouth or a gut. They have just a few cells. But then they have this complex structure that looks just like stinging cell of cnidarian. Jellyfish tentacles are loaded with them—little firing weapons."


The findings are the stuff of scientific fascination but also could have a commercial effect. Myxozoa commonly plague commercial fish stock such as trout and salmon. "They're a very diverse group of parasites, and some have been well-studied because they infect fish and can wreak havoc in aquaculture of economic importance," Cartwright said. "They cause whirling disease in salmon. The fish start swimming in circles—it's a neurological problem caused by a myxozoan."


Cartwright said the confirmation that myxozoans are cnidarians would necessitate the re-classification of Myxozoa into the phylum Cnidaria. Moreover, these micro jellyfish could expand understanding of what makes up an animal. "Their biology was well-known, but not their evolutionary origins," she said. "They're microscopic, only a few cells measuring 10 to 20 microns. Some people originally thought they were single-celled organisms. But when their DNA was sequenced, researchers started to surmise they were animals—just really weird ones."


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Human ARF Gene Prevents Zebrafish Regeneration

Human ARF Gene Prevents Zebrafish Regeneration | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Regenerative medicine could one day allow physicians to correct congenital deformities, regrow damaged fingers, or even mend a broken heart. But to do it, they will have to reckon with the body’s own anti-cancer security system. Now UCSF researchers have found a human gene that may be a key mediator of this trade-off, blocking both tumors and healthy regeneration.


As a child, UCSF’s Jason Pomerantz, MD, was amazed by the fact that salamanders can regenerate limbs. Now, as a plastic surgeon and stem cell researcher, he believes that insights from creatures like zebrafish and salamanders, which routinely regrow damaged tails, limbs, jaws and even hearts, may one day endow humans with heightened regenerative abilities.


“In the last 10 to 15 years, as regenerative organisms like zebrafish have become genetically tractable to study in the lab, I became convinced that these animals might be able to teach us what is possible for human regeneration,” Pomerantz said. “Why can these vertebrates regenerate highly complex structures, while we can’t?”


In a study published Nov. 17, 2015, in the journal eLife, Pomerantz and his team showed new evidence suggesting that mammals may have given up the ability to regenerate limbs partly in exchange for advanced cancer-fighting genes.


The question of whether the regenerative powers of zebrafish and salamanders represent ancient abilities that mammals have lost, perhaps in exchange for advanced tumor-suppression systems remains an open question for biologists. Most tumor suppressor genes, being extremely useful for preventing cancer and for forming tissues during development, are broadly distributed and conserved across many different species. Recent studies, however, suggest that one, the Arf gene, arose more recently in the avian and mammalian lineage, and has no equivalent in the genomes of highly regenerative animals.


To explore whether this gene might play a role in preventing tissue regeneration in humans, the researchers added human ARF to the zebrafish genome and assessed how it affected the fishes’ normal ability to regrow damaged fins after injury. They found that human ARF had no effect on the fishes’ normal development or response to superficial injury, but when the researchers trimmed off the tip of a fish’s tail fin, the gene became strongly activated and almost completely prevented fin regrowth by activating a conserved tumor-blocking pathway.


“It’s like the gene is mistaking the regenerating fin cells for aspiring cancer cells,” said Pomerantz, who is an associate professor of plastic and reconstructive surgery at UCSF and surgical director of the Craniofacial Center at UCSF’s Medical Center and School of Dentistry. “And so it springs into action to block it.”

It’s remarkable that ARF can so readily integrate itself into the fish’s existing tumor-blocking pathways, Pomerantz said.



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Prospecting for new bacterial metabolites: a glossary of approaches for inducing, activating and upregulating the biosynthesis of bacterial cryptic or silent natural products

Prospecting for new bacterial metabolites: a glossary of approaches for inducing, activating and upregulating the biosynthesis of bacterial cryptic or silent natural products | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Over the centuries, microbial secondary metabolites have played a central role in the treatment of human diseases and have revolutionised the pharmaceutical industry. With the increasing number of sequenced microbial genomes revealing a plethora of novel biosynthetic genes, natural product drug discovery is entering an exciting second golden age. Here, we provide a concise overview as an introductory guide to the main methods employed to unlock or up-regulate these so called ‘cryptic’, ‘silent’ and ‘orphan’ gene clusters, and increase the production of the encoded natural product. With a predominant focus on bacterial natural products we will discuss the importance of the bioinformatics approach for genome mining, the use of first different and simple culturing techniques and then the application of genetic engineering to unlock the microbial treasure trove.

 

Joseph Scott Zarins-Tutt,a   Tania Triscari Barberi,a   Hong Gao,a   Andrew Mearns-Spragg,b   Lixin Zhang,c   David J. Newmand and   Rebecca Jane Miriam Goss*a  
 
Show Affiliations
Nat. Prod. Rep., 2016, Advance Article


DOI: 10.1039/C5NP00111K

 

 


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Mollenynes B–E from the Marine Sponge Spirastrella mollis. Band-Selective Heteronuclear Single Quantum Coherence for Discrimination of Bromo–Chloro Regioisomerism in Natural Products

Mollenynes B–E from the Marine Sponge Spirastrella mollis. Band-Selective Heteronuclear Single Quantum Coherence for Discrimination of Bromo–Chloro Regioisomerism in Natural Products | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Xiao Wang†, Brendan M. Duggan‡, and Tadeusz F. Molinski*†‡

Four new chlorobromohydrins, mollenynes B–E, were isolated from the marine spongeSpirastrella mollis collected from Hogsty Reef, Bahamas. Their structures were elucidated by integrated analysis of NMR, MS, and computational methods. A high-resolution band-selective HSQC experiment was developed to identify 13C NMR signals in samples at the nanomole-scale that arise from Cl-substituted 13C by exploiting the 35Cl/37Cl isotope shift.

J. Am. Chem. Soc., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b07858



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Le poisson d'élevage remplacera-t-il le boeuf pour nourrir la planète ? - National Geographic

Le poisson d'élevage remplacera-t-il le boeuf pour nourrir la planète ? - National Geographic | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Filtres à eau naturels, des pétoncles japonais géants prospèrent sur les déchets des poissons, dans une ferme expérimentale, au…


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How bees naturally vaccinate their babies against some diseases found in their environment

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies against some diseases found in their environment | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how they do it.

 

Researchers from Arizona State University, University of Helsinki, University of Jyväskylä and Norwegian University of Life Sciences made the discovery after studying a bee blood protein called vitellogenin. The scientists found that this protein plays a critical, but previously unknown role in providing bee babies protection against disease.


The findings appear in the journal PLOS Pathogens. "The process by which bees transfer immunity to their babies was a big mystery until now. What we found is that it's as simple as eating," said Gro Amdam, a professor with ASU's School of Life Sciences and co-author of the paper. "Our amazing discovery was made possible because of 15 years of basic research on vitellogenin. This exemplifies how long-term investments in basic research pay off."


Co-author Dalial Freitak, a postdoctoral researcher with University of Helsinki adds: "I have been working on bee immune priming since the start of my doctoral studies. Now almost 10 years later, I feel like I've solved an important part of the puzzle. It's a wonderful and very rewarding feeling!"


In a honey bee colony, the queen rarely leaves the nest, so worker bees must bring food to her. Forager bees can pick up pathogens in the environment while gathering pollen and nectar. Back in the hive, worker bees use this same pollen to create "royal jelly"—a food made just for the queen that incidentally contains bacteria from the outside environment.


After eating these bacteria, the pathogens are digested in the gut and transferred to the body cavity; there they are stored in the queen's 'fat body'—an organ similar to a liver. Pieces of the bacteria are then bound to vitellogenin—a protein—and carried via blood to the developing eggs. Because of this, bee babies are 'vaccinated' and their immune systems better prepared to fight diseases found in their environment once they are born. Vitellogenin is the carrier of these immune-priming signals, something researchers did not know until now.


While bees vaccinate their babies against some diseases, many pathogens are deadly and the insects are unable to fight them.

But now that Amdam and Freitak understand how bees vaccinate their babies, this opens the door to creating the first edible and natural vaccine for insects.


"We are patenting a way to produce a harmless vaccine, as well as how to cultivate the vaccines and introduce them to bee hives through a cocktail the bees would eat. They would then be able to stave off disease," said Freitak.


One destructive disease that affects bees is American Foul Brood, which spreads quickly and destroys hives. The bacterium infects bee larvae as they ingest food contaminated with its spores. These spores get their nourishment from the larvae, eventually killing them. This disease is just one example where the researchers say a vaccine would be extremely beneficial.


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Dereplicating and Spatial Mapping of Secondary Metabolites from Fungal Cultures in Situ

Dereplicating and Spatial Mapping of Secondary Metabolites from Fungal Cultures in Situ | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Ambient ionization mass spectrometry techniques have recently become prevalent in natural product research due to their ability to examine secondary metabolites in situ. These techniques retain invaluable spatial and temporal details that are lost through traditional extraction processes. However, most ambient ionization techniques do not collect mutually supportive data, such as chromatographic retention times and/or UV/vis spectra, and this can limit the ability to identify certain metabolites, such as differentiating isomers. To overcome this, the droplet–liquid microjunction–surface sampling probe (droplet–LMJ–SSP) was coupled with UPLC–PDA–HRMS–MS/MS, thus providing separation, retention times, MS data, and UV/vis data used in traditional dereplication protocols. By capturing these mutually supportive data, the identity of secondary metabolites can be confidently and rapidly assigned in situ. Using the droplet–LMJ–SSP, a protocol was constructed to analyze the secondary metabolite profile of fungal cultures without any sample preparation. The results demonstrate that fungal cultures can be dereplicated from the Petri dish, thus identifying secondary metabolites, including isomers, and confirming them against reference standards. Furthermore, heat maps, similar to mass spectrometry imaging, can be used to ascertain the location and relative concentration of secondary metabolites directly on the surface and/or surroundings of a fungal culture.

 

Vincent P. Sica†, Huzefa A. Raja†, Tamam El-Elimat†, Vilmos Kertesz‡, Gary J. Van Berkel‡, Cedric J. Pearce§, and Nicholas H. OberliesJ. Nat. Prod., Article ASAPDOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00268
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Are marine ecosystems headed toward a new productivity regime? Model calculations suggest massive changes in the oceans' more distant future

Phytoplankton have been projected to produce less organic material as the oceans' temperatures rise -- with carry-on effects for higher levels of the food web. Based on new climate model simulations, a team of scientists suggests now that this assumption might be misleading. According to the researchers, ocean productivity might be pushed into a completely new regime in the more distant future.

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Original scoop by Gaye Rosier.

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NOAA, partners predict severe harmful algal bloom for Lake Erie.

NOAA, partners predict severe harmful algal bloom for Lake Erie. | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
NOAA, partners predict severe harmful algal bloom for Lake Erie.
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Dengue Fever Virus is Rapidly Evolving

Dengue Fever Virus is Rapidly Evolving | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Scientists have been looking at dengue fever and they have concluded that the virus that causes the disease is capable of rapid evolution. This means finding ways to kill the virus is a very challenging task.

 

Dengue virus is prevalent in some 100 countries worldwide and the signs are that the disease is spreading to more territories. By spreading the genetic diversity of the virus has increased, meaning that the hunt for effective counter drugs becomes more difficult.


Dengue fever is a disease, spread by mosquitoes, that affects over 50 million people a year. The disease manifests as fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, accompanied by a skin rash. In some cases fatal dengue hemorrhagic fever can result, causing internal bleeding.


A researcher at Duke-NUS called Eng Eong Ooi has recently found a new strain of dengue, called serotype 2 virus (DENV-2). This stain has evolved from and replaced another form of the virus that was common during the 1990s, in Puerto Rico. The dengue virus has four known serotypes (DENV1-4) circulating in nature.


The virus was able to make this genetic transformation due to three mutations that have been discovered in the tail of the dengue viral genome. Through these mutations the viral strain was able to suppress the human antiviral response. This allowed the newly emerging strain to spread, infect more mosquitoes and thus infect more people.


The study is important because it provides a new understanding as to how the virus mutates and this insight might offer ways to combat the virus. Studying the virus at the genetic level also provides information about which stains of the virus are most likely to trigger epidemics. This information is useful in dengue surveillance.


The research has been published in the journal Science (“Dengue subgenomic RNA binds TRIM25 to inhibit interferon expression for epidemiological fitness.”)


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Tiny bacteria could be Earth's greatest defence against climate change

Tiny bacteria could be Earth's greatest defence against climate change | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that a group of ocean bacteria (pictured) called Pelagibacterale form a feedback loop that helps to keep the planet cool.
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100 noteworthy young startups — and what they tell us about tech this year

100 noteworthy young startups — and what they tell us about tech this year | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
Looking at what early-stage startups are working on is not only entertaining — and sometimes concerning — it can also be a good indicator of where tech is headed.
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Grisemycin, a Bridged Angucyclinone with a Methylsulfinyl Moiety from a Marine-Derived Streptomyces sp.

Grisemycin, a Bridged Angucyclinone with a Methylsulfinyl Moiety from a Marine-Derived Streptomyces sp. | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Grisemycin (1), the first sulfur angucyclinone with an unusual ether-bridged system, was isolated from a marine-derived Streptomyces griseus strain M268. Its novel, here cage-like, structure was determined by spectroscopic analysis and single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Compound 1 exhibited modestly selective activity against the HL-60 cell line with an IC50 value of 31.54 μM. Futhermore, the absolute stereochemistry of kiamycin (2), an 1,12-epoxybenz[a]anthracene, previously obtained from the same strain, was established by X-ray diffraction analysis.

 

Zeping Xie†, Ling Zhou†, Lin Guo‡, Xiaoping Yang†, Guiwu Qu§, Changjing Wu†, and Shumin Zhang*†
 
Org. Lett., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.6b00332
Publication Date (Web): March 9, 2016

 


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Dimeric Octaketide Spiroketals from the Jellyfish-Derived Fungus Paecilomyces variotii J08NF-1

Dimeric Octaketide Spiroketals from the Jellyfish-Derived Fungus Paecilomyces variotii J08NF-1 | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Paeciloketals (1–3), new benzannulated spiroketal derivatives, were isolated from the marine fungus Paecilomyces variotii derived from the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai. Compound 1 was present as a racemate and was resolved into enantiopure 1a and 1b by chiral-phase separation on a cellulose column. Compounds 2 and 3, possessing a novel benzannulated spiroketal skeleton, were rapidly interconvertible and yielded an equilibrium mixture on standing at room temperature. The relative and absolute configurations of compounds 2 and 3 were determined by NOESY analysis and ECD calculations. Compound 1 showed modest antibacterial activity against the marine pathogen Vibrio ichthyoenteri.

 

 

Haibo Wang†, Jongki Hong‡, Jun Yin§, Hyung Ryong Moon†, Yonghong Liu⊥, Xiaoyi Wei∥, Dong-Chan Oh∇, and Jee H. Jung
J. Nat. Prod., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00594
Publication Date (Web): November 12, 2015

 


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Dimeric Octaketide Spiroketals from the Jellyfish-Derived Fungus Paecilomyces variotii J08NF-1

Dimeric Octaketide Spiroketals from the Jellyfish-Derived Fungus Paecilomyces variotii J08NF-1 | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Paeciloketals (1–3), new benzannulated spiroketal derivatives, were isolated from the marine fungus Paecilomyces variotii derived from the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai. Compound 1 was present as a racemate and was resolved into enantiopure 1a and 1b by chiral-phase separation on a cellulose column. Compounds 2 and 3, possessing a novel benzannulated spiroketal skeleton, were rapidly interconvertible and yielded an equilibrium mixture on standing at room temperature. The relative and absolute configurations of compounds 2 and 3 were determined by NOESY analysis and ECD calculations. Compound 1 showed modest antibacterial activity against the marine pathogen Vibrio ichthyoenteri.

 

 

Haibo Wang†, Jongki Hong‡, Jun Yin§, Hyung Ryong Moon†, Yonghong Liu⊥, Xiaoyi Wei∥, Dong-Chan Oh∇, and Jee H. Jung
J. Nat. Prod., Article ASAP
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00594
Publication Date (Web): November 12, 2015

 


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Scientists finally reveal the mysterious migration of American eels

Scientists finally reveal the mysterious migration of American eels | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

For the first time, American eels (Anguilla rostrata, shown) have been tracked on the way to their spawning grounds at sea, a migration of at least 1600 kilometers from the freshwater haunts where they matured. Neither researchers nor fishermen have ever caught an adult eel in the open ocean, but it’s clear they must spend time there because scientists discovered their presumed spawning grounds in the North Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea more than a century ago.


Now, using tracking devices, researchers have finally mapped the migration routes of a few of those wriggly fish—and learned a little about their habits at sea to boot. Some of the devices measured water temperature and depth, and others measured temperature and the strength and intensity of Earth’s magnetic field. Of the 38 eels released off the southern coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, in the summers of 2012 through 2014, trackers on 28 of them eventually popped to the surface to broadcast data to the researchers via satellite (including two attached to eels that were apparently consumed by predators).

 

Six of the animals were tracked for more than a month, with the longest migration stretching almost 1600 kilometers to a point just shy of the northern edge of the Sargasso Sea, the researchers report online today in Nature Communications. The eels apparently migrate from fresh waters on the North American continent in two phases: First, in shallow waters along the continental shelf, the wrigglers swim between surface waters and the bottom, possibly sampling the salinity and temperature of deeper waters to ascertain their location and route. Then, after the eels pass the edge of the shelf, they make a beeline southward, swimming near the ocean’s surface at night and then diving to depths of about 700 meters during daylight hours, possibly to avoid predators.


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Makenzie Geiger's curator insight, November 3, 2015 9:06 PM

When scientists tracked these eels they realized that this wasn't going to be a walk in the park! However, when they got a hold of the "wriggly creatures" the scientist learned about their habitats and where their spawning grounds were. I believe that the tracking devices helped a lot because of the information that they found out.

Calem Cauley's curator insight, November 4, 2015 9:18 PM

Eels have never been tracked before and it's really cool to find out where they go. I never knew they could go deep in the ocean and travel thousands of kilometers to get where they need to be.

Kedryn bray's curator insight, November 16, 2015 9:19 PM

These elusive creatures have boggled the world of migration for a long while, but finally these scientists have found out their migration patterns are through the continental shelf and then off and in a Beeline towards their destination.

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Sylvia Earle: Why I Take Part

Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanographer, talks about why she crisscrosses the globe to protect marine life. Read more: ...

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The Global Ocean Refuge System; a strategic way to protect vulnerable corals from climate change

The Global Ocean Refuge System; a strategic way to protect vulnerable corals from climate change | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
New research dramatically underscores the need to accelerate establishment of marine reserves to help safeguard marine life from global climate change.  Our staff biogeographer, Dr.

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Blog - The ScubaBlog

Blog - The ScubaBlog | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
Discussion place for all things scuba diving and marine research and conservation.

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Kenna Eco Diving July 2015 Seahorse Project update and photos.

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Kenna Eco Diving July 2015 Seahorse Project update and photos.

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New Study Suggests that Plankton Keeps Our Planet Cool

New Study Suggests that Plankton Keeps Our Planet Cool | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Those microscopic organisms that float in the oceans and are known as plankton may be helping our planet against the damaging effects of climate change by keeping it cool, a new study suggests. According to the researchers who conducted the study, plankton can help with cloud formation and helps sunlight reach space, thus cooling Earth.

 

The new research was conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Washington in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The researchers believe that the microscopic organisms that drift in the oceans can produce organic matter and airborne gases that can trigger cloud droplets. This leads to brighter clouds and more sunlight gets reflected.


The scientists wrote a paper in which they wrote about their findings and published it last week in the journal Science Advances.

According to the paper, the scientists studied the Southern Ocean region which covers latitudes between 35 degrees and 55 degrees south. By analyzing this area, the researchers said they found some pretty interesting information about the current climate conditions of our planet.


Their findings revealed that the increased brightness reflects approximately 4W of solar energy per square meter on a yearly average. Daniel McCoy, expert in atmospheric sciences, and one of the lead authors of the study, explained that the plankton blooms help the clouds which form over the Southern Ocean reflect more sunlight during the summer season. McCoy added that the plankton helps the clouds create twice as many droplets than they would normally produce if the oceans didn’t have any microscopic organisms living in them.


According to the researchers, they decided to analyze the Southern Ocean mainly because ocean live in other parts of the planet are obstructed by aerosols created by forests or heavy pollution. That’s why it would have been far more difficult for them to study and measure things in the Northern Hemisphere.


The scientists analyzed data collected by NASA’s satellites to measure the cloud droplets that form in the sky. They explained that the dimethyl sulfide created by the phytoplankton gets carried into the atmosphere at high altitudes, and then it transforms and helps produce the aerosols that move downwind. The study suggests that this happens more often in the northern part of the region they studied.


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Development of smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating

Development of smart clothes for personalized cooling and heating | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it

Instead of heating or cooling your whole house, imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature — regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. That’s the goal of an engineering project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating) at the University of California, San Diego, funded with a $2.6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).


By regulating the temperature around an individual person, rather than a large room, the smart fabric could potentially cut the energy use of buildings and homes by at least 15 percent, said project leader Joseph Wang, distinguished professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego.


“In cases where there are only one or two people in a large room, it’s not cost-effective to heat or cool the entire room,” said Wang. “If you can do it locally, like you can in a car by heating just the car seat instead of the entire car, you can save a lot of energy.”


The smart fabric will be designed to regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin — keeping it at 93° F — by adapting to temperature changes in the room. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter, the fabric will become thinner, using polymers inside the smart fabric that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat.


“93° F is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people,” added Renkun Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego, and one of the collaborators on this project.


The clothing will incorporate printable “thermoelectrics” into specific spots of the smart fabric to regulate the temperature on “hot spots” — such as areas on the back and underneath the feet — that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.


“With the smart fabric, you won’t need to heat the room as much in the winter, and you won’t need to cool the room down as much in the summer. That means less energy is consumed,” said Chen.


The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself, using rechargeable batteries to power the thermoelectrics and biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat.


The 3-D printable wearable parts will be thin, stretchable, and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy. The material will also be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight. “We also hope to make it look attractive and fashionable to wear,” said Wang.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Combining Mass Spectrometric Metabolic Profiling with Genomic Analysis: A Powerful Approach for Discovering Natural Products from Cyanobacteria

Combining Mass Spectrometric Metabolic Profiling with Genomic Analysis: A Powerful Approach for Discovering Natural Products from Cyanobacteria | marine biotechnology | Scoop.it
An innovative approach was developed for the discovery of new natural products by combining mass spectrometric metabolic profiling with genomic analysis and resulted in the discovery of the columbamides, a new class of di- and trichlorinated acyl amides with cannabinomimetic activity. Three species of cultured marine cyanobacteria, Moorea producens 3L, Moorea producens JHB, and Moorea bouillonii PNG, were subjected to genome sequencing and analysis for their recognizable biosynthetic pathways, and this information was then compared with their respective metabolomes as detected by MS profiling. By genome analysis, a presumed regulatory domain was identified upstream of several previously described biosynthetic gene clusters in two of these cyanobacteria, M. producens 3L and M. producens JHB. A similar regulatory domain was identified in the M. bouillonii PNG genome, and a corresponding downstream biosynthetic gene cluster was located and carefully analyzed. Subsequently, MS-based molecular networking identified a series of candidate products, and these were isolated and their structures rigorously established. On the basis of their distinctive acyl amide structure, the most prevalent metabolite was evaluated for cannabinomimetic properties and found to be moderate affinity ligands for CB1.

 

Karin Kleigrewe †, Jehad Almaliti †, Isaac Yuheng Tian †‡, Robin B. Kinnel §, Anton Korobeynikov⊥∥¶, Emily A. Monroe ∇, Brendan M. Duggan □, Vincenzo Di Marzo #, David H. Sherman ◊, Pieter C. Dorrestein □, Lena Gerwick †, and William H. Gerwick J. Nat. Prod., Article ASAPDOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00301Publication Date (Web): July 7, 2015
Via NatProdChem
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