AME - Vol. 71 No. 3 - Feature article

Left: Sampling stations (satellite image from NASA: oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/biosphere_globes.pl). Right: Dot plots of viruses (green) and prokaryotes (orange) on flowcytogram. Illustration: C. Motegi.

Yang Y, Yokokawa T, Motegi C, Nagata T

 

Large-scale distribution of viruses in deep waters of the Pacific and Southern Oceans

 

Viruses are known to be ubiquitous and highly abundant in aquatic environments. However, in the deep oceanic water column, earth’s largest aquatic habitat, variation and control of viruses are still poorly understood. Yang and coworkers examined the full-depth distributions of viruses across oceanic basins along a cruise track of ~17,000 km in the Southern Ocean and the central Pacific. They found an outstanding feature in viral distribution pattern at depths greater than 2,000 m. Viral abundances were high in the Antarctic bottom water and tended to decrease along the path of the deep ocean circulation. Their results raised the possibility that large amounts of viruses could be slowly transported over considerable geographic distances in the deep ocean.

 

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