Gerhard J Herndl

Gerhard J Herndl
University of Vienna | UniWien · Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology

Professor

About

482
Publications
83,424
Reads
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25,207
Citations
Citations since 2016
155 Research Items
10750 Citations
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201620172018201920202021202205001,0001,500
201620172018201920202021202205001,0001,500
Additional affiliations
January 2009 - December 2013
Universität Wien
January 2009 - December 2012
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
January 2009 - present
French National Centre for Scientific Research
Position
  • Centre national de la recherche scientifique

Publications

Publications (482)
Article
The oceanic waters below a depth of 200 m represent, in terms of volume, the largest habitat of the biosphere, harboring approximately 70% of the prokaryotic biomass in the oceanic water column. These waters are characterized by low temperature, increasing hydrostatic pressure, and decreasing organic matter supply with depth. Recent methodological...
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Prokaryotic communities inhabiting surface waters of temperate areas exhibit patterns of seasonal succession. Generally, studies describing these temporal changes are not performed in the proximity to the coast. In the present study, temporal variation of these communities was determined in surface waters at two stations located in the close proxim...
Preprint
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Bacterial membrane vesicles (MVs) are likely abundant in the oceans. Based on observations from non-marine bacteria, MVs are involved in a range of physiological processes and play important roles in interactions between microbial cells. In this study we characterized MV production of six different strains of Alteromonas macleodii , a cosmopolitan...
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The presence of seagrass shapes surface sediments and forms a specific environment for diverse and abundant microbial communities. A severe decline of Cymodocea nodosa, a widespread seagrass species in the Mediterranean Sea, has been documented. To characterise and assess the changes in microbial community composition during the decline of a Cymodo...
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Background Fungi are important degraders of organic matter responsible for reintegration of nutrients into global food chains in freshwater and soil environments. Recent evidence suggests that they are ubiquitously present in the oceanic water column where they play an active role in the degradation of carbohydrates. However, their role in processi...
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Although terrestrial and aquatic fungi are well-known decomposers of organic matter, the role of marine fungi remains largely unknown. Recent studies based on omics suggest that marine fungi potentially play a major role in elemental cycles. However, there is very limited information on the diversity of extracellular enzymatic activities performed...
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The dark ocean (>200 m depth) is the largest habitat on Earth. Dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) fixation in the oxygenated waters of the dark ocean is in the same order of magnitude as heterotrophic microbial biomass production 1,2. Recent evidence suggests sulfur oxidation could be a major energy source for deep ocean microbes 3. However, the glob...
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The bacterial SAR324 cluster is ubiquitous and abundant in the ocean, especially around hydrothermal vents and in the deep sea, where it can account for up to 30% of the whole bacterial community. According to a new taxonomy generated using multiple universal protein-coding genes (instead of the previously used 16S rRNA single gene marker), the for...
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Deep-sea microbial communities are exposed to high hydrostatic pressure. While some of these deep-sea prokaryotes are adapted to high-pressure conditions, the contribution of piezophilic (i.e., pressure-loving) and piezotolerant prokaryotes to the total deep-sea prokaryotic community remains unknown. Here we show that the metabolic activity of prok...
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Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most abundant plastics in the ocean. The development of a biofilm on PE in the ocean has been reported, yet whether some of the biofilm-forming organisms can biodegrade this plastic in the environment remains unknown. Via metagenomics analysis, we taxonomically and functionally analyzed three biofilm communities usin...
Chapter
The dark ocean refers to the oceanic water column deeper than 200 m, which includes the mesopelagic (200–1000 m), bathypelagic (1000–4000 m), abyssopelagic (4000–6000 m), and hadalpelagic (>6000 m) realms. This vast system is in terms of volume the largest habitat of the biosphere, harboring the largest reservoir of microbes in aquatic systems, and...
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Throughout coastal Antarctica, ice shelves separate oceanic waters from sunlight by hundreds of meters of ice. Historical studies have detected activity of nitrifying microorganisms in oceanic cavities below permanent ice shelves. However, little is known about the microbial composition and pathways that mediate these activities. In this study, we...
Preprint
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Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most abundant plastics in the ocean. The development of a biofilm on PE in the ocean has been reported, yet whether some of the biofilm-forming organisms can biodegrade this plastic in the environment remains unknown. Via metagenomics analysis, we taxonomically and functionally analysed three biofilm communities usin...
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Surfaces of marine macrophytes are inhabited by diverse microbial communities. Most studies focusing on epiphytic communities of macrophytes did not take into account temporal changes or applied low sampling frequency approaches. The seasonal dynamics of epiphytic microbial communities was determined in a meadow of Cymodocea nodosa invaded by Caule...
Article
Only about 10%‐30% of the organic matter produced in the epipelagic layers reaches the dark ocean. Under these limiting conditions, reduced inorganic substrates might be used as energy source to fuel prokaryotic chemoautotrophic and/or mixotrophic activity. The aprA gene encodes the alpha subunit of the adenosine‐5′‐phosphosulfate (APS) reductase,...
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Ergosterol has traditionally been used as a proxy to estimate fungal biomass as it is almost exclusively found in fungal lipid membranes. Ergosterol determination has been mostly used for fungal samples from terrestrial, freshwater, salt marsh- and mangrove-dominated environments or to describe fungal degradation of plant matter. In the open ocean,...
Preprint
Genomic and physiological evidence from some strains of ammonia-oxidizing Thaumarchaeota demonstrate their additional ability to oxidize nitrogen (N) supplied as urea or cyanate, fueling conjecture about their ability to conserve energy by directly oxidizing reduced N from other dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) compounds. Similarly, field studies h...
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Heterotrophic CO2 fixation is a significant yet underappreciated CO2 flux in environmental carbon cycling. In contrast to photosynthesis and chemolithoautotrophy – the main recognized autotrophic CO2 fixation pathways – the importance of heterotrophic CO2 fixation remains enigmatic. All heterotrophs – from microorganisms to humans – take up CO2 and...
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Studies of unculturable microbes often combine methods, such as 16S rRNA sequencing, metagenomics, and metaproteomics. To apply these techniques to the microbial community inhabiting the surfaces of marine macrophytes, it is advisable to perform a selective DNA and protein isolation prior to the analysis to avoid biases due to the host material bei...
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Background Most of the research on the cycling of carbon in the open-ocean has focused on heterotrophic prokaryotes and eukaryotic phytoplankton, but the role of pelagic fungi remains largely enigmatic. Methods Here, we performed a global-ocean multi-omics analysis of all pelagic fungal carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), key enzymes in the car...
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Alkaline phosphatase (APase) is one of the marine enzymes used by oceanic microbes to obtain inorganic phosphorus (Pi) from dissolved organic phosphorus to overcome P-limitation. Marine APase is generally recognized to perform P-monoesterase activity. Here we integrated a biochemical characterization of a specific APase enzyme, examination of globa...
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Jellyfish blooms can represent a significant but largely overlooked source of organic matter (OM), in particular at the local and regional scale. We provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on the bloom‐forming jellyfish as sink and source of OM for microorganisms. In particularly, we compare the composition, concentration, and release...
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About 20% of the organic carbon produced in the sunlit surface ocean is transported into the ocean’s interior as dissolved, suspended and sinking particles to be mineralized and sequestered as dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), sedimentary particulate organic carbon (POC) or “refractory” dissolved organic carbon (rDOC). Recently, the physical and bi...
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Microbial degradation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in aquatic environments can cause oxygen depletion, water acidification, and CO 2 emissions. These problems are caused by labile DOC (LDOC) and not refractory DOC (RDOC) that resists degradation and is thus a carbon sink. For nearly a century, chemical oxygen demand (COD) has been widely used...
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The effect of the presence of invasive macroalgae Caulerpa cylindracea Sonder in the seagrass meadow Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson was studied by comparing the dynamics of biological and physicochemical parameters in the tissues of these two macrophytes and in the sediments underlying an invaded meadow (mixed settlement) and a C. cylindracea m...
Preprint
Full-text available
Heterotrophic CO2 fixation is a significant, yet underappreciated CO2 flux in the global carbon cycle. In contrast to photosynthesis and chemolithoautotrophy – the main recognized autotrophic CO2 fixation pathways – the importance of heterotrophic CO2 fixation remains enigmatic. All heterotrophs – from microorganisms to humans – take up CO2 and inc...
Article
Full-text available
Marine snow is an important habitat for microbes, characterized by chemical and physical properties contrasting those of the ambient water. The higher nutrient concentrations in marine snow lead to compositional differences between the ambient water and the marine snow-associated prokaryotic community. Whether these compositional differences vary d...
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When jellyfish blooms decay, sinking jellyfish detrital organic matter (jelly-OM), rich in proteins and characterized by a low C:N ratio, becomes a significant source of OM for marine microorganisms. Yet, the key players and the process of microbial jelly-OM degradation and the consequences for marine ecosystems remain unclear. We simulated the sce...
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It remains unknown whether and to what extent marine prokaryotic communities are capable of degrading plastic in the ocean. To address this knowledge gap, we combined enrichment experiments employing low-density polyethylene (LDPE) as the sole carbon source with a comparison of bacterial communities on plastic debris in the Pacific, the North Atlan...
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Marine microbes use extracellular phosphatases to hydrolyze phosphate from organic matter. Dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) is typically present in higher concentrations than phosphate in oceanic surface waters. Yet, the fate and role of different DOP components, such as phosphomonoester and phosphodiester, are poorly understood. Most of the inve...
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The naturally occurring nitrogen (N) isotopes, 15N and 14N, exhibit different reaction rates during many microbial N transformation processes, which results in N isotope fractionation. Such isotope effects are critical parameters for interpreting natural stable isotope abundances as proxies for biological process rates in the environment across sca...
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The dynamics of the physicochemical and biological parameters were followed during the decline of a Cymodocea nodosa meadow in the northern Adriatic Sea from July 2017 to October 2018. During the regular growth of C. nodosa from July 2017 to March 2018, the species successfully adapted to the changes in environmental conditions and prevented H2S ac...
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Viral abundance was assessed in different water masses of the NW Atlantic, and the development of viral abundance, lytic viral infection and lysogeny was followed for the first ca. 5000 km (corresponding to ca. 50 yr in the oceanic conveyor belt) of the western branch of the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW). Viral abundance was significantly higher...
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Dissolved free taurine, an important osmolyte in phytoplankton and metazoans, has been shown to be a significant carbon and energy source for prokaryotes in the North Atlantic throughout the water column. However, the extent of the coupling between taurine production and consumption over a seasonal cycle has not been examined yet. We determined tau...
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Heterotrophic prokaryotes express extracellular hydrolytic enzymes to cleave large organic molecules before taking up the hydrolyzed products. According to foraging theory, extracellular enzymes should be cell associated in dilute systems such as deep sea habitats, but secreted into the surrounding medium in diffusion-limited systems. However, extr...
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Bacterial candidate phylum PAUC34f was originally discovered in marine sponges and is widely considered to be composed of sponge symbionts. Here, we report 21 single amplified genomes (SAGs) of PAUC34f from a variety of environments, including the dark ocean, lake sediments, and a terrestrial aquifer. The diverse origins of the SAGs and the results...
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Ammonia oxidation to nitrite and its subsequent oxidation to nitrate provides energy to the two populations of nitrifying chemoautotrophs in the energy-starved dark ocean, driving a coupling between reduced inorganic nitrogen (N) pools and production of new organic carbon (C) in the dark ocean. However, the relationship between the flux of new C pr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. The dynamics of the physicochemical and biological parameters were followed during the decline of a Cymodocea nodosa meadow in the northern Adriatic Sea from July 2017 to October 2018. During the regular growth of C. nodosa from July 2017 to March 2018, C. nodosa successfully adapted to the changes of environmental conditions and prevente...
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Optical instruments can rapidly determine numbers and characteristics of water column particles with high sensitivity. Here we show the usefulness of optically assessed total particle volume below the main pycnocline to estimate carbon export in two systems: the open subarctic North Atlantic and the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Both regions exhibit season...
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About half of the global primary production (PP) is generated in the euphotic layer of the ocean. The 14C method developed by Steemann Nielsen (Nielsen, 1952) more than half a century ago has been the most frequently used method to determine PP in all aquatic systems. This method includes dark incubations to exclude the non-phototrophic dissolved i...
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To elucidate the potential for nitrification and denitrification processes in a high latitude deep oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) we determined the abundance and community composition of the main microbial players in the aerobic and anaerobic (anammox) ammonium oxidation and denitrification processes in the Gulf of Alaska throughout the water column. Wi...
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Viruses are an abundant, diverse and dynamic component of marine and terrestrial ecosystems. In the ocean, viruses play a key role in the biogeochemical cycles and controlling microbial abundance, diversity and evolution. Recent metagenomics studies assessed the structure of the viral community in the upper ocean. However, little is known about the...
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In the Baltic Sea redoxcline, lysogenic viruses infecting prokaryotes have rarely been detected using the commonly used inducing agent mitomycin C. However, it is well known that not all viruses are induceable by mitomycin C and growing evidence suggests that changes in trophic conditions may trigger the induction of lysogenic viruses. We hypothesi...
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Taurine, an amino acid-like compound, acts as an osmostress protectant in many marine metazoans and algae and is released via various processes into the oceanic dissolved organic matter pool. Taurine transporters are widespread among members of the marine prokaryotic community, tentatively indicating that taurine might be an important substrate for...
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Messenger RNA can provide valuable insights into the variability of metabolic processes of microorganisms. However, due to uncertainties that include the stability of RNA, its application for activity profiling of environmental samples is questionable. We explored different factors affecting the decay rate of transcripts of three marine bacterial i...
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The extent of DMSP demethylation has been hypothesized to depend on DMSP availability and bacterial sulfur demand, which might lead to niche differentiation of the demethylating bacterial community. In this study, we determined DMSP concentrations in marine snow and the ambient water over a seasonal cycle and linked DMSP concentrations to the abund...
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Ammonia‐oxidizing archaea (AOA) constitute a considerable fraction of microbial biomass in the global ocean, comprising 20‐40% of the ocean's prokaryotic plankton. However, it remains enigmatic to what extent these chemolithoautotrophic archaea release dissolved organic carbon (DOC). A combination of targeted and untargeted metabolomics was used to...
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Global environmental changes are challenging the structure and functioning of ecosystems. However, a mechanistic understanding of how global environmental changes will affect ecosystems is still lacking. The complex and interacting biological and physical processes spanning vast temporal and spatial scales that constitute an ecosystem make this a f...