Aureococcus anophagefferens (Pelagophyceae) genomes improve evaluation of nutrient acquisition strategies involved in brown tide dynamics

Eric R. Gann, Alexander R. Truchon, Spiridon E. Papoulis, Sonya T. Dyhrman, Christopher J. Gobler, Steven W. Wilhelm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The pelagophyte Aureococcus anophagefferens causes harmful brown tide blooms in marine embayments on three continents. Aureococcus anophagefferens was the first harmful algal bloom species to have its genome sequenced, an advance that evidenced genes important for adaptation to environmental conditions that prevail during brown tides. To expand the genomic tools available for this species, genomes for four strains were assembled, including three newly sequenced strains and one assembled from publicly available data. These genomes ranged from 57.11 to 73.62 Mb, encoding 13,191–17,404 potential proteins. All strains shared ~90% of their encoded proteins as determined by homology searches and shared most functional orthologs as determined by KEGG, although each strain also possessed coding sequences with unique functions. Like the original reference genome, the genomes assembled in this study possessed genes hypothesized to be important in bloom proliferation, including genes involved in organic compound metabolism and growth at low light. Cross-strain informatics and culture experiments suggest that the utilization of purines is a potentially important source of organic nitrogen for brown tides. Analyses of metatranscriptomes from a brown tide event demonstrated that use of a single genome yielded a lower read mapping percentage (~30% of library reads) as compared to a database generated from all available genomes (~43%), suggesting novel information about bloom ecology can be gained from expanding genomic space. This work demonstrates the continued need to sequence ecologically relevant algae to understand the genomic potential and their ecology in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-160
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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