Communications Biology 4(1) , 1217 ( 2021)
Recent studies on marine heat waves describe water temperature anomalies causing changes in food web structure, bloom dynamics, biodiversity loss, and increased plant and animal mortality. However, little information is available on how water temperature anomalies impact prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) inhabiting ocean waters. This is a nontrivial omission given their integral roles in driving major biogeochemical fluxes that influence ocean productivity and the climate system. Here we present a time-resolved study on the impact of a large-scale warm water surface anomaly in the northeast subarctic Pacific Ocean, colloquially known as the Blob, on prokaryotic community compositions. Multivariate statistical analyses identified significant depth- and season-dependent trends that were accentuated during the Blob. Moreover, network and indicator analyses identified shifts in specific prokaryotic assemblages from typically particle-associated before the Blob to taxa considered free-living and chemoautotrophic during the Blob, with potential implications for primary production and organic carbon conversion and export.