The researchers identified 195,728 virus species parsed into five global regions that are home to distinct viral communities. Having the global map of virus locations could help scientists know where carbon fallout occurs and increase the accuracy of climate simulations.
“We were surprised to see, but because they’re present in such huge numbers, they really matter”, says one of the team, microbiologist Matthew Sullivan from Ohio State University. “But in a study published this week in Cell, that number skyrockets to 195,728 distinct viral populations, a more than twelvefold increase.”
The project analyzed samples collected by the global Tara Oceans expedition, documenting genomes, which scientists around the world will help researchers identify protists in the future. We are starting to unveil the full extent of the diversity and ecological roles of these fascinating components of marine ecosystems.
“Protists are some of the next great unknowns out in the open ocean”, said Poulton, a research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory and director of the Facility for Aquatic Cytometry.
The review discusses relatively lesser-known mechanism of ocean carbon sequestration is the biological gravitation pump ( BGP ), which, as the name suggests, is the sinking of biological debris vertically down the water column into the ocean’s interior. That process stops carbon in the bacteria from passing up the food chain, and instead releases the carbon back into the ocean for other microorganisms – some of which also consume carbon dioxide. It also highlights a number of areas that require further research, so we can better understand the individual mechanisms involved and their relative contribution to the ocean carbon cycle states, Poulton said.
Atmospheric scientists believe that increased cloudiness has up until now partially mitigated the effects of global warming by reducing the amount of energy the planet absorbs from the sun. Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter (11 square feet) above the planetary boundary layer, explained University of British Columbia virologist Curtis Suttle, a senior author of the research published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.
What was surprising was that the vast majority of viruses that are simply come and go before we even notice them. Bacteria, our bodies are the dominant life forms in the microbiome, there are over 320,000 types of viruses that prey on bacteria dominated the known genetic signatures.
Viruses can travel for thousands of miles by riding dust particles, a new study found. A study earlier this year cataloged some of the microbes living in the plastisphere, many of them new to science; especially abundant were Vibrio, a group of bacteria including those that cause cholera.
In a paper published this week in the online journal mBio, researchers from the University of Barcelona found that raw sewage is home to thousands of novel, undiscovered viruses, some of which could relate to human health.
Image Credits: Arek Socha