Genomic adaptations in information processing underpin trophic strategy in a whole-ecosystem nutrient enrichment experiment

Jordan G. Okie, Amisha T. Poret-Peterson, Zarraz M.P. Lee, Alexander Richter, Luis D. Alcaraz, Luis E. Eguiarte, Janet L. Siefert, Valeria Souza, Chris L. Dupont, James J. Elser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Several universal genomic traits affect trade-offs in the capacity, cost, and efficiency of biochemical information processing underpinning metabolism and reproduction. We analyzed their role in mediating planktonic microbial community responses to nutrient enrichment in an oligotrophic, phosphorus-deficient pond in Cuatro Ciénegas, Mexico—one of the first whole-ecosystem experiments involving replicated metagenomic assessment. Mean bacterial genome size, GC content, total number of tRNA genes, total number of rRNA genes, and codon usage bias in ribosomal protein sequences were higher in the fertilized treatment, as predicted assuming oligotrophy favors lower information-processing costs while copiotrophy favors higher processing rates. Contrasting changes in trait variances also suggested differences between traits in mediating assembly under copiotrophic versus oligotrophic conditions. Trade-offs in information-processing traits are apparently sufficiently pronounced to play a role in community assembly as the major components of metabolism—information, energy, and nutrient requirements—are fine-tuned to an organism’s growth and trophic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere49816
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Codon usage bias
  • Ecological stoichiometry
  • GC content
  • Genome size
  • Growth rate hypothesis
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbial communities
  • Phosphorus fertilization
  • R/K selection theory
  • RRNA operon copy number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Genomic adaptations in information processing underpin trophic strategy in a whole-ecosystem nutrient enrichment experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this