Investigating the Diversity of Marine Bacteriophage in Contrasting Water Masses Associated with the East Australian Current (EAC) System

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Viruses, 12 (3), pp. 317 - 317
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Virus- and bacteriophage-induced mortality can have a significant impact on marine productivity and alter the flux of nutrients in marine microbial food-webs. Viral mediated horizontal gene transfer can also influence host fitness and community composition. However, there are very few studies of marine viral diversity in the Southern Hemisphere, which hampers our ability to fully understand the complex interplay of biotic and abiotic factors that shape microbial communities. We carried out the first genetic study of bacteriophage communities within a dynamic western boundary current (WBC) system, the east Australian current (EAC). Virus DNA sequences were extracted from 63 assembled metagenomes and six metaviromes obtained from various depths at 24 different locations. More than 1700 bacteriophage genomic fragments (>9 kbps) were recovered from the assembled sequences. Bacteriophage diversity displayed distinct depth and regional patterns. There were clear differences in the bacteriophage populations associated with the EAC and Tasman Sea euphotic zones, at both the taxonomic and functional level. In contrast, bathypelagic phages were similar across the two oceanic regions. These data provide the first characterisation of viral diversity across a dynamic western boundary current, which is an emerging model for studying the response of microbial communities to climate change.
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