The North Sea goes viral: Occurrence and distribution of North Sea bacteriophages

Antje.Wichels [ at ]


Marine viruses are dominated by phages and have an enormous influence on microbial population dynamics, due to lysis and horizontal gene transfer. The aim of this study is to analyze the occurrence and diversity of phages in the North Sea, considering the virus-host interactions and biogeographic factors. The virus community of four sampling stations were described using virus metagenomics (viromes). The results show that the virus community was not evenly distributed throughout the North Sea. The dominant phage members were identified as unclassified phage group, followed by Caudovirales order. Myoviridae was the dominant phage family in the North Sea, which occurrence decreased from the coast to the open sea. In contrast, the occurrence of Podoviridae increased and the occurrence of Siphoviridae was low throughout the North Sea. The occurrence of other groups such as Phycodnaviridae decreased from the coast to the open sea. The coastal virus community was genetically more diverse than the open sea community. The influence of riverine inflow and currents, for instance the English Channel flow affects the genetic virus diversity with the community carrying genes from a variety of metabolic pathways and other functions. The present study offers the first insights in the virus community in the North Sea using viromes and shows the variation in virus diversity and the genetic information moved from coastal to open sea areas.

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DOI 10.1016/j.margen.2018.05.004

Cite as
Garin-Fernandez, A. , Pereira-Flores, E. , Glöckner, F. O. and Wichels, A. (2018): The North Sea goes viral: Occurrence and distribution of North Sea bacteriophages , Marine Genomics . doi: 10.1016/j.margen.2018.05.004

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