Horizontal and vertical distribution of marine virioplankton: a basin scale investigation based on a global cruise.
ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that marine viruses have been increasingly studied in the last decade, there is little information on viral abundance and distribution on a global scale. In this study, we report on a global-scale survey covering the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans on viral distribution using flow cytometry. Viruses were stained with the SYBR Green I, which targets only dsDNA viruses. The average viral abundance was 1.10±0.73×10(7) ml(-1) in global surface oceans and decreased from the areas with high chlorophyll concentration (on average, 1.47±0.78×10(7) ml(-1)) to the oligotrophic subtropical gyres (on average, 6.34±2.18×10(6) ml(-1)). On a large-spatial-scale, viruses displayed significant relationships with both heterotrophic and autotrophic picoplankton abundance, suggesting that viral distribution is dependent on their host cell abundance. Our study provided a basin scale pattern of marine viral distributions and their relationship with major host cells, indicating that viruses play a significant role in the global marine ecosystem.
Project description:Viruses are a key component of marine ecosystems, but the assessment of their global role in regulating microbial communities and the flux of carbon is precluded by a paucity of data, particularly in the deep ocean. We assessed patterns in viral abundance and production and the role of viral lysis as a driver of prokaryote mortality, from surface to bathypelagic layers, across the tropical and subtropical oceans. Viral abundance showed significant differences between oceans in the epipelagic and mesopelagic, but not in the bathypelagic, and decreased with depth, with an average power-law scaling exponent of -1.03 km<sup>-1</sup> from an average of 7.76 × 10<sup>6</sup> viruses ml<sup>-1</sup> in the epipelagic to 0.62 × 10<sup>6</sup> viruses ml<sup>-1</sup> in the bathypelagic layer with an average integrated (0 to 4000 m) viral stock of about 0.004 to 0.044 g C m<sup>-2</sup>, half of which is found below 775 m. Lysogenic viral production was higher than lytic viral production in surface waters, whereas the opposite was found in the bathypelagic, where prokaryotic mortality due to viruses was estimated to be 60 times higher than grazing. Free viruses had turnover times of 0.1 days in the bathypelagic, revealing that viruses in the bathypelagic are highly dynamic. On the basis of the rates of lysed prokaryotic cells, we estimated that viruses release 145 Gt C year<sup>-1</sup> in the global tropical and subtropical oceans. The active viral processes reported here demonstrate the importance of viruses in the production of dissolved organic carbon in the dark ocean, a major pathway in carbon cycling.
Project description:Viruses are the most abundant biological entities in the world's oceans, and they play a crucial role in global biogeochemical cycles. In deep-sea ecosystems, archaea and bacteria drive major nutrient cycles, and viruses are largely responsible for their mortality, thereby exerting important controls on microbial dynamics. However, the relative impact of viruses on archaea compared to bacteria is unknown, limiting our understanding of the factors controlling the functioning of marine systems at a global scale. We evaluate the selectivity of viral infections by using several independent approaches, including an innovative molecular method based on the quantification of archaeal versus bacterial genes released by viral lysis. We provide evidence that, in all oceanic surface sediments (from 1000- to 10,000-m water depth), the impact of viral infection is higher on archaea than on bacteria. We also found that, within deep-sea benthic archaea, the impact of viruses was mainly directed at members of specific clades of Marine Group I Thaumarchaeota. Although archaea represent, on average, ~12% of the total cell abundance in the top 50 cm of sediment, virus-induced lysis of archaea accounts for up to one-third of the total microbial biomass killed, resulting in the release of ~0.3 to 0.5 gigatons of carbon per year globally. Our results indicate that viral infection represents a key mechanism controlling the turnover of archaea in surface deep-sea sediments. We conclude that interactions between archaea and their viruses might play a profound, previously underestimated role in the functioning of deep-sea ecosystems and in global biogeochemical cycles.
Project description:Viruses influence oceanic ecosystems by causing mortality of microorganisms, altering nutrient and organic matter flux via lysis and auxiliary metabolic gene expression and changing the trajectory of microbial evolution through horizontal gene transfer. Limited host range and differing genetic potential of individual virus types mean that investigations into the types of viruses that exist in the ocean and their spatial distribution throughout the world's oceans are critical to understanding the global impacts of marine viruses. Here we evaluate viral morphological characteristics (morphotype, capsid diameter and tail length) using a quantitative transmission electron microscopy (qTEM) method across six of the world's oceans and seas sampled through the Tara Oceans Expedition. Extensive experimental validation of the qTEM method shows that neither sample preservation nor preparation significantly alters natural viral morphological characteristics. The global sampling analysis demonstrated that morphological characteristics did not vary consistently with depth (surface versus deep chlorophyll maximum waters) or oceanic region. Instead, temperature, salinity and oxygen concentration, but not chlorophyll a concentration, were more explanatory in evaluating differences in viral assemblage morphological characteristics. Surprisingly, given that the majority of cultivated bacterial viruses are tailed, non-tailed viruses appear to numerically dominate the upper oceans as they comprised 51-92% of the viral particles observed. Together, these results document global marine viral morphological characteristics, show that their minimal variability is more explained by environmental conditions than geography and suggest that non-tailed viruses might represent the most ecologically important targets for future research.
Project description:Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on our planet. Interactions between viruses and their hosts impact several important biological processes in the world's oceans such as horizontal gene transfer, microbial diversity and biogeochemical cycling. Interrogation of microbial metagenomic sequence data collected as part of the Sorcerer II Global Ocean Expedition (GOS) revealed a high abundance of viral sequences, representing approximately 3% of the total predicted proteins. Cluster analyses of the viral sequences revealed hundreds to thousands of viral genes encoding various metabolic and cellular functions. Quantitative analyses of viral genes of host origin performed on the viral fraction of aquatic samples confirmed the viral nature of these sequences and suggested that significant portions of aquatic viral communities behave as reservoirs of such genetic material. Distributional and phylogenetic analyses of these host-derived viral sequences also suggested that viral acquisition of environmentally relevant genes of host origin is a more abundant and widespread phenomenon than previously appreciated. The predominant viral sequences identified within microbial fractions originated from tailed bacteriophages and exhibited varying global distributions according to viral family. Recruitment of GOS viral sequence fragments against 27 complete aquatic viral genomes revealed that only one reference bacteriophage genome was highly abundant and was closely related, but not identical, to the cyanomyovirus P-SSM4. The co-distribution across all sampling sites of P-SSM4-like sequences with the dominant ecotype of its host, Prochlorococcus supports the classification of the viral sequences as P-SSM4-like and suggests that this virus may influence the abundance, distribution and diversity of one of the most dominant components of picophytoplankton in oligotrophic oceans. In summary, the abundance and broad geographical distribution of viral sequences within microbial fractions, the prevalence of genes among viral sequences that encode microbial physiological function and their distinct phylogenetic distribution lend strong support to the notion that viral-mediated gene acquisition is a common and ongoing mechanism for generating microbial diversity in the marine environment.
Project description:Virioplankton are an important and abundant biological component of marine and freshwater ecosystems. Often overlooked, aquatic viruses play an important role in biogeochemical cycles on a global scale, infecting both autotrophic and heterotrophic microbes. Viral diversity, abundance, and viral interactions at different trophic levels in aqueous environments are not well understood. Tropical ecosystems are less frequently studied than temperate ecosystems, but could provide new insights into how physical and chemical variability can shape or force microbial community changes. In this study, we found high viral abundance values in Guanabara Bay relative to other estuaries around the world. Viral abundance was positively correlated with bacterioplankton abundance and chlorophyll a concentrations. Moreover, prokaryotic and viral abundance were positively correlated with eutrophication, especially in surface waters. These results provide novel baseline data on the quantitative distribution of aquatic viruses in tropical estuaries. They also provide new information on a complex and dynamic relationship in which environmental factors influence the abundance of bacterial hosts and consequently their viruses. Guanabara Bay is characterized by spatial and seasonal variations, and the eutrophication process is the most important factor explaining the structuring of virioplankton abundance and distribution in this tropical urbanized bay.
Project description:Absolute abundances of prokaryotes are typically determined by FISH. Due to the lack of a universal conserved gene among all viruses, metagenomic fragment recruitment is commonly used to estimate the relative viral abundance. However, the paucity of absolute virus abundance data hinders our ability to fully understand how viruses drive global microbial populations. The cosmopolitan marine Pelagibacter ubique is host for the highly widespread HTVC010P pelagiphage isolate and the extremely abundant uncultured virus vSAG 37-F6 recently discovered by single-virus genomics. Here we applied droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to calculate the absolute abundance of these pelagiphage genotypes in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Maine. Abundances were between 360 and 8,510 virus mL-1 and 1,270-14,400 virus mL-1 for vSAG 37-F6 and HTVC010P, respectively. Illumina PCR-amplicon sequencing corroborated the absence of ddPCR non-specific amplifications for vSAG 37-F6, but showed an overestimation of 6% for HTVC010P from off-targets, genetically unrelated viruses. Absolute abundances of both pelagiphages, two of the most abundance marine viruses, suggest a large viral pelagiphage diversity in marine environments, and show the efficiency and power of ddPCR to disentangle the structure of marine viral communities. Results also highlight the need for a standardized workflow to obtain accurate quantification that allows cross data comparison.
Project description:Nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) constitute a group of eukaryotic viruses that can have crucial ecological roles in the sea by accelerating the turnover of their unicellular hosts or by causing diseases in animals. To better characterize the diversity, abundance and biogeography of marine NCLDVs, we analyzed 17 metagenomes derived from microbial samples (0.2-1.6??m size range) collected during the Tara Oceans Expedition. The sample set includes ecosystems under-represented in previous studies, such as the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) and Indian Ocean lagoons. By combining computationally derived relative abundance and direct prokaryote cell counts, the abundance of NCLDVs was found to be in the order of 10(4)-10(5) genomes?ml(-1) for the samples from the photic zone and 10(2)-10(3) genomes?ml(-1) for the OMZ. The Megaviridae and Phycodnaviridae dominated the NCLDV populations in the metagenomes, although most of the reads classified in these families showed large divergence from known viral genomes. Our taxon co-occurrence analysis revealed a potential association between viruses of the Megaviridae family and eukaryotes related to oomycetes. In support of this predicted association, we identified six cases of lateral gene transfer between Megaviridae and oomycetes. Our results suggest that marine NCLDVs probably outnumber eukaryotic organisms in the photic layer (per given water mass) and that metagenomic sequence analyses promise to shed new light on the biodiversity of marine viruses and their interactions with potential hosts.
Project description:Single stranded DNA viruses have been previously shown to populate the oceans on a global scale, and are endemic in microbialites of both marine and freshwater systems. We undertook for the first time direct viral metagenomic shotgun sequencing to explore the diversity of viruses in the modern stromatolites of Shark Bay Australia. The data indicate that Shark Bay marine stromatolites have similar diversity of ssDNA viruses to that of Highbourne Cay, Bahamas. ssDNA viruses in cluster uniquely in Shark Bay and Highbourne Cay, potentially due to enrichment by phi29-mediated amplification bias. Further, pyrosequencing data was assembled from the Shark Bay systems into two putative viral genomes that are related to Genomoviridae family of ssDNA viruses. In addition, the cellular fraction was shown to be enriched for antiviral defense genes including CRISPR-Cas, BREX (bacteriophage exclusion), and DISARM (defense island system associated with restriction-modification), a potentially novel finding for these systems. This is the first evidence for viruses in the Shark Bay stromatolites, and these viruses may play key roles in modulating microbial diversity as well as potentially impacting ecosystem function through infection and the recycling of key nutrients.
Project description:Marine viruses are key drivers of host diversity, population dynamics and biogeochemical cycling and contribute to the daily flux of billions of tons of organic matter. Despite recent advancements in metagenomics, much of their biodiversity remains uncharacterized. Here we report a data set of 27,346 marine virome contigs that includes 44 complete genomes. These outnumber all currently known phage genomes in marine habitats and include members of previously uncharacterized lineages. We designed a new method for host prediction based on co-occurrence associations that reveals these viruses infect dominant members of the marine microbiome such as Prochlorococcus and Pelagibacter. A negative association between host abundance and the virus-to-host ratio supports the recently proposed Piggyback-the-Winner model of reduced phage lysis at higher host densities. An analysis of the abundance patterns of viruses throughout the oceans revealed how marine viral communities adapt to various seasonal, temperature and photic regimes according to targeted hosts and the diversity of auxiliary metabolic genes.
Project description:Viruses are the most common biological entities in the marine environment. There has not been a global survey of these viruses, and consequently, it is not known what types of viruses are in Earth's oceans or how they are distributed. Metagenomic analyses of 184 viral assemblages collected over a decade and representing 68 sites in four major oceanic regions showed that most of the viral sequences were not similar to those in the current databases. There was a distinct "marine-ness" quality to the viral assemblages. Global diversity was very high, presumably several hundred thousand of species, and regional richness varied on a North-South latitudinal gradient. The marine regions had different assemblages of viruses. Cyanophages and a newly discovered clade of single-stranded DNA phages dominated the Sargasso Sea sample, whereas prophage-like sequences were most common in the Arctic. However most viral species were found to be widespread. With a majority of shared species between oceanic regions, most of the differences between viral assemblages seemed to be explained by variation in the occurrence of the most common viral species and not by exclusion of different viral genomes. These results support the idea that viruses are widely dispersed and that local environmental conditions enrich for certain viral types through selective pressure.